Flavors of Brazil is based, it's definitely true. Today is typical weather in here Fortaleza, with daytime temperature of about 86F (30C) and dipping all the way down to 77F (25C) in the overnight hours. Fortaleza's temperatures don't vary more than a degree or two throughout the year - there's really no summer or winter.
In the southernmost reaches of Brazil, on the other hand, there are four distinct seasons, and the temperature at times is much lower than you might expect. The mountainous regions of the state of Rio Grande do Sul regularly reach freezing temperatures during the winter months, around 30F (-2C), and the winter median temperature is a chilly 45F (7C). And since Brazil lies south of the equator, those cold, damp winter months are June and July - right about now.
To celebrate Brazilian winter, such as it is, Flavors of Brazil thought it would be fun to feature a recipe for a hot winter drink from Rio Grande do Sul - just what one needs to take the winter chill off, whether in December in Canada or Sweden, or in July in Brazil. Hot drinks, spiked with alcohol, are favorite warmer-uppers in many cultures. Brazil is no exception - though, since this is Brazil, the alcohol of choice naturally is cachaça.
RECIPE - Brazilian Grog (Quentão)
1 cup (250 ml) cachaça
1 lime, sliced thinly
1 small orange, sliced thinly
1 cup orange juice (fresh-squeezed if possible)
8 whole dried cloves
4 sticks cinnamon - about 2" (3 cm) each
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled, about 1" (2 cm) long
1/2 cup (or less) sugar
In a large saucepan mix all the ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil over low heat, and let boil slowly for about one minute only. Remove from heat.
Divide between four tumblers or mugs. Distribute the clove and cinnamon sticks between the drinks; discard the ginger. The slices of lime and orange can optionally be added to the drinks, or discarded. Serve immediately while still very hot.