Refrescando os Pensamentos/Refreshing One's Thoughts
Many visitors with an inkling will be under the impression that the drink most often served in "Brazilian" bars outside of Brazil, the caipirinha, is the drink of choice here. After years of nights at Sounds of Brazil (or S.O.B.'s) in New York City I certainly had that impression. And I was almost disappointed to find that the most common alcoholic beverage served here is beer. But then that's not such a bad thing.
Brazilian beer is (or should be anyway) served ice-cold (bem gelada). It fits those hot, starlit nights; and those long hot afternoons on the beach. And during Carnival, even those brilliantly lit mornings.
The beers one tends to find in Bahia are Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Bohemia and Schincariol. Brahma, in this context, has nothing to do with India; the name is an acronym having to do with its German origins. Quite frankly, these beers are not very good. The fact that they're drunk cold helps to mask indifferent to less-than-so flavor. Bohemia is hoppy and is my own general preference. I only drink Schincariol under duress!
Infusions are what the name implies, flavoring agents added to cachaça and left to steep. Two of the most popular are:
- Cravinho (made with clove), and
- Jatobá (jah-toe-BAH), made with the bark of the jatobá tree (Hymenaea courbaril, so named for the conspicuous form of its leaves).
- Another popular infusão is catuaba (renowned as an aphrodisiac), made from the bark of the catuaba tree (Erythroxylum catuaba).
There are many others including:
Canela (made from cinnamon),
Laranja (made from orange peel),
Erva Doce (made from cardamom seeds), and
Gengibre (made from ginger).
A Gabriela is made from a mixture of cravo & canela (clove & cinnamon), having been inspired by the Jorge Amado novel.
Honey and lime are usually added to the infusions upon serving, an exception being erva doce, which is usually taken as is.