It took a little while for Brazilians to work out why their foreign guests always kept their hands wrapped around their glasses. And then, finally, the penny dropped: most foreigners prefer their drinks served at room temperature. Here in Brazil, by contrast, beer is served in accordance with Brazilian law, in other words cold, very cold, almost frozen solid
In terms of consumption, Brazil ranks in the Top 5 when it comes to necking the golden nectar. In Brazil you’ll find no shortage of bars, sometimes quite literally built on top of each other in the busy cities, all selling bottled, canned and draft beer. A typical establishment is no bigger than a garage with little more than a few bar stools and, weather permitting, drinkers spill out on to the street and enjoy their beer propped up against the parked cars. This is a classic neighbourhood scene, and more often than not locals bring along their own chairs from home. These places offer simple bar food, such as a misto quente (warm ham and cheese baguette), coloured eggs, hot dogs and a host of other typically Brazilian savoury snacks to accompany the drinks. Such a place is often referred to as a pé-sujo (dirty foot). A Botequim or a boteco (both more akin to a pub setting) are variations on a theme and are usually slightly larger, with tables and chairs and a more varied menu. The atmosphere is always relaxed, so they make for a great place to catch up with friends or enjoy a “Happy Hour” with colleagues after a long day at work.
Ask for a “geladinha” (very cold) and you will receive a bottle of beer; if you opt for a “sem colarinho” (without a small collar), you’ll get a draft beer in a tall class with little or no head; a “garotinho” (small boy) is the same type of draft beer, but in a smaller glass. But for those who prefer other types of drink, the boteco can also whip you up a traditional caipirinha or, for those with lionhearted livers, a “bombeirinho” (blackcurrant with cachaça), “maria-mole” (wine with brandy), “rabo de galo” (chicken’s tail – cachaça with dry red vermouth) or “aguardente” (neat cachaça). Enjoy responsibly!
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