It's small and the decor's slightly suburban and anodyne, but for a proper education into the glories of the caipirinha there is no better place than the Academia. 500 varieties of cachaca from all over Brazil are available, as well as caipirinhas made with passion fruit, lemon and an assortment of fruits in addition to the traditional lime. (Do try the version made with Providencia cachaca and brown sugar.) Many of the brands are available to take home - the prices are higher than in the supermarkets, but still very cheap by our standards and the selection is hard to beat. The food's decent, too.
If you're strolling there from Copacabana or the area of Ipanema that abuts Copacabana, stop along the way at always-packed Bar Bracaranse for an icy chopp (draft beer and a plate of croquettes made with shrimp, manioc and a lovely, gooey Brazilian cheese called catupiry.
Academia da Cachaca Address: 26 Rua Conde de Bernadotte Phone: 021/2529-2680 Bar Bracarense Address: Rua José Linhares 85B, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Phone: 021/2294-3549
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