10 Brazilian drinks as cool as caipirinha

Cachaças that are worth a meal

Caipirinha – a mix of sugar cane spirit (cachaça), crushed lime, white sugar and ice – is a big hit among foreigners that visit Brazil. It is pretty much everywhere in the country and many Brazilian families own the special wooden mortar used to prepare the beverage. Caipirinha and its variations, such as caipiroska (with vodka) or saquerinha (with sake), are just a tiny sample of popular Brazilian drinks.

Follow me in the discovery of other national specialties. Most of them carry cachaça (also known as pinga, aguardente de cana, caninha or “a brava“/”the nasty one”):

  1. Batidas – This mix of cachaça, fruit, ice and lots of sugar is a favorite in the kiosks that line the Brazilian coast. You name the fruit – maracujá (passion fruit), coco (coconut), morango (strawberry). In fact, caipirinha is just one more type of batida.
  2. Meia de seda (probably named after pantyhose because it is a girlie drink) – Those with a really sweet tooth can try this mix of 1/3 of gin, 1/3 cacao liqueur (made with the fruit, not cocoa), 1 spoon of sugar and cinnamon (some recipes abolish the gin or substitute it by rum). Sort of old-fashioned, a souvenir of the golden fifties.
  3. Aluá – There are several recipes for this drink popular in the Northeast states (Bahia, Ceará and Pernambuco, among others), that may or not be alcoholic. You mix one pinapple´s peel, two litters of water, brown sugar, cloves and grated ginger. The skin of the pineapple should be kept in water for a whole night to get fermented. The longer it remains in water, the more alcoholic the beverage. This water is strained and mixed to the other ingredients.
  4. Cachaça puraCachaça, the Brazilian counterpart of rum, is made of the fermented sugarcane juice. There are probably a few thousand of brands, some extremely refined, some too bad to be mentioned. A recent contest promoted by cachaça experts chose the best artisan brands produced in the state of Minas Gerais (which  basically means in Brazil). The winners were Diva (from Divinópolis, a white cachaça), Pirapora (from the city of same name, an aged cachaça) and Áurea Custódio (from Ribeirão das Neves, a premium cachaça). Also Playboy magazine published a cachaça ranking (here ordered from first to fifth place): Anísio Santiago/Havana (from the city of Salinas), Vale Verde (Betim), Claudionor (Januária), Germana (Nova União) and Magnífica (Vassouras). They are all from Minas Gerais, apart from the last one, from the state of Rio. And here you find a large list of Brazilian cachaças, including their origins and alcoholic degrees.
  5. Think Green – This complex cocktail, by Rogério “Rabbit” Barroso, considered one of the best Brazilian bartenders, was one of the finalists of  the latest edition of the World Cocktail Competition. It includes Bacardi, Marie Brizard Lemon Grass, Midori, champagne and pineapple juice.
  6. Porradinha – A classic among college students. Grown-ups tend to be ashamed of drinking this in public. You should fill half a metal cup with cachaça. Add a small amount of Sprite or some similar soda. Cover the cup with your hand, lift it and hit the table (that movement could be described as porradinha). The volume of the drink will grow quickly, so drink it in only one sip.
  7. Submarino – Typical of the Southern states, mixes a dose of Steinhäger (a beverage made of juniper) and a cup of draft beer. Originally, German immigrants would drink both spirits separately, but simultaneously. In Brazil, we turn the cup with Steinhäger face down inside a larger cup. Then pour beer inside. The Steinäger “escapes” into the beer.

If you don’t drink alcohol, there are a few Brazilian drinks that have merits of their own:

  1. GuaranáThe national soft drink is made of guaraná, an Amazonian fruit that is an energy booster – it has twice the caffeine of coffee beans. Guaraná, the soda, has very small amounts of guaraná, the fruit, though, unlike guaranápowder, sold in vitamin shops.

  2. Juices – In the Amazon, try the ones made of cupuaçu, bacuri or açaí. In the Northeast, the options are limitless. Mango, cashew (the fruit, not the nut on top of it), siriguela, jaca (jackfruit), cajá. All of these are available in major cities all around the country (made of frozen pulp, in most cases).
  3. GarapaFor those with a sweet tooth, the sugar cane juice is available in street markets practically everywhere in the country. Sometimes lime or pineapple are added to the beverage.

Now that you have all you need to be an accomplished Brazilian barman (or woman), check my post on great Brazilian dishes.  After all, you don’t want to drink on an empty stomach.

Also, have a sip of The best caipirinha ever.

Enjoy! Saúde!


    • Batida de maracujá is delicious. The only time I got really drunk in my life. My mom threw a party and served it. I decided to help her, taking the glasses to the kitchen. Decided to taste that juice…I was 9. Learned my lesson!

  1. Regina,

    great topic, and great tipps!
    The variety of drinks in Brazil is so huge and, as you already mention, often regionally influenced, that I would like to add some favourites especially from Salvador, Bahia:

    1. -Roscas.
    Basically the same you described as Batidas, but with vodka instead of Cachaça. Apart from Caipirosca (with lime) the most popular flavours are strawberry, kiwi and pineapple.

    2. Batidas (in Bahia)
    what you described as Batida, Bahians call “-rinha”, as in Caipirinha. But Bahians are also fans of your “number 4. – Cachaça Pura”. You can get cachaça in various flavours of fruits or herbs, and creamy ones like coconut and chocolate. The creamy cachaças are the “Batidas” in Bahian bars.

    3. Speaking of creamy drinks:
    If Cachaça or vodca with sugar and crushed ice is a mixture which blends well with all kinds of fruit, why should it not do so with other sweet things as well?
    This question may have inspired Bahian creativity to invent drinks like Capeta (with chocolate and guaraná powder) and Nevada – one of my favourites. The latter one is with Leite Condensado (condensed milk), which mixed with the crushed ice becomes creamy like ice cream while being white as snow (hence the name Nevada, from “neve”, Portuguese for snow), and topped with strawberry syrup looks more like a delicious desert than a drink.

    4., 5., 6. … I did mention Bahian creativity before, didn’t I?
    One thing is for sure: people in Bahia are not afraid to try to mix anything with alcohol to see if it tastes good. Every year, barkeepers invent countless new drinks, and their names are usually as creative as the mixtures themselves. Carnival is probably the time when most new drinks are “born”.

    My final tipp on this topic: when you get to a Bahian bar or party, don’t be shy, just try whatever drink sounds tasty.

  2. Hi,

    does anyone know were to buy the special brasilian “batida ovos de codorna”?

    It must be available in region around Sao Paulo and the states Parana and Sta. Katherina

    • I am sorry, Jan, I don’t know this one. In fact, I don’t remember seeing it – I believe batida de ovos is common in supermarkets (not the fancy ones), but I never saw one made specifically with quail eggs.

  3. My favorite Brazilian cocktail is white cachaça, muddled lime and honey (no water). It’s very strong, and delicious. I have been told (at least in Salavdor) that the drink is called a “genérico.”

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