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To mark the start of the biggest sporting event to happen in the last four years, we caught up with top Brazilian bartender from Bar D'Hotel, Tai Barbin to find out more about the host city, Rio de Janeiro.

You work in Rio de Janeiro. Tell us about the latest news and trends in the Brazilian drinks industry?

The cocktail industry in Brazil has grown exponentially in recent years resulting in many bartenders having more of an interest in studying and developing their skills behind the bar. With this boom in the cocktail industry we have seen a large amount of new cocktail bars opening up - not just in Rio but in Brazil as a whole. One of the latest trends to take over Brazilian cocktail bars is Tiki culture - with bartenders creating tropical, fruit and rum based drinks, such as a Mai Tai cocktail.

Why is Rio a great city to visit?

Rio is a one of a kind city full of contrasts. The landscape is unbelievable - you have a cosmopolitan city by the ocean, with high rise buildings dividing the landscape and beautiful beaches. The economic scenario is another contrast – with very expensive penthouses and "favelas" stacking up the hills. At the beach, everyone comes together with a very contagious laid back mood and attitude.

What are the top attractions to visit in Rio?

Apart from the well known attractions like Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf, in Rio you are also surrounded by nature and endless attractions. For example – you could trek up the Pedra da Gavea, go stand-up paddle boarding, visit the reserve parks and waterfalls or even go hang gliding.

If you are spending the weekend in Rio, where do you recommend to visit for food, cocktails and drinks?

For a taste of traditional Brazilian cuisine without getting too fancy and with a good atmosphere - Braseiro is a good choice. Enjoy a meat feast alongside a crowd of loud, happy and uplifting people.

A very chilled Sunday afternoon session is Mureta da Urca. The name translates to "Urca fence" as there is a fence surrounding the Urca Bay where you can relax and drink their well-known passion fruit caipirinhas, while watching the sunset over an amazing landscape.

If you are looking for a more authentic cocktail bar you can visit the SubAstor at the Arpoador which has a very classical choice of cocktails available. I work at the Bar D'Hotel at Leblon and it has a beautiful view of the ocean. We serve classic cocktails as well as our own creations, which have some unique Brazilian flavours in them. You can find me there from Thursday to Saturday and if you call in make sure you try our “O Pensador” - an interesting mix of rum, vermouth, herb liquor and homemade cacao bitters.

Are there any local ingredients that people are using in their cocktails in Brazil?

Brazil has a big limitation on the spirits and products that are available on the market – which can limit the potential for mixologists and bartenders. However, we have an extremely large range of unique flavours that you can't find anywhere else, such as the native Brazilian woods. One ingredient that has been use a lot lately is Amburana. It is a species of timber tree from the Fabaceae family and has some cinnamon and vanilla notes.

At Bar D’Hotel we have a twist on an Old Fashioned using aged Cachaça and Amburana Tincture where we also smoke the glass with burned Amburana.

What cocktail should people try that is local to Rio?

You need to try a traditional lime caipirinha.

60ml Ypióca® Cachaça Prata

1/2 Lime (cut it in wedges)

30ml Sugar syrup


Muddle the lime in a cocktail shaker.

Add the cachaça and the sugar syrup, add ice and shake it vigorously.

Pour into an old fashioned glass and garnish with a lime wedge. Saúde!

(2.3 standard drinks* - 1.9 units per serve)

Finally any message for anyone visiting Rio this year…

Be prepared to fall in love with Rio! They call it "the wonderful city" (Cidade Maravilhosa) for a reason!

Take a look at some other caipirinha recipes here.

Join in the conversation and tweet us at @diageobarac, on Instagram @diageobarac or like us on Facebook – we’d love to hear from you!

The Ypiócaword and associated logo is a trademarks ©Diageo 2016.

(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)

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