My Guaraná Cocktail

In need of a drink while watching the Miss Universe pageant on TV, I looked around my kitchen to see what I could make. What I ended up with is not quite a caipirinha, but it’s just as refreshing and tasty. Guaraná soda is quite common in Brazil, and has a very light, fruity taste.

Ingredients:
1 shot cachaça or pinga
1/2 cup Guaraná soda
1/2 lime
a couple of sprigs of fresh mint
ice

Pour cachaça into glass and muddle in mint leaves and lime juice. If you have patience, wait at least an hour for the mint to infuse the cachaça. Add soda and ice and enjoy!

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Cachaça, clove and cinnamon: For chilly nights

Photo Credit: Eduardo Delfim

A bottle of pinga. It's a lower quality cachaça, but it gets the job done

June through August means winter in Brazil, and São Paulo experiences its share of rainy days and chilly nights. There’s nothing better to beat the cold than a good cup of quentão, a hot drink made by boiling equal parts cachaça and water with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sugar. Some people add fruit such as apples or oranges to the mix — I prefer lime.

Cachaça is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane. Pinga (left) is a lower quality version, but when it comes to making quentão, it gets the job done. Some regions in Brazil also opt to use red wine. Either way, it’s spicy, sweet and delicious.