If you love Italian soft drinks, you will certainly have heard of Brasilena: it is a drink from Calabria, popular also in the regions of the South of Italy such as Sicily, Apulia and Campania, that over the years became so popular to be exported internationally. So, here is the recipe and history of this famous drink!
Brasilena: one of Italy’s most loved soft drinks
Brasilena can be referred to as a soft drink, in other words a light drink both fizzy and with a specific taste granted by the aroma of coffee. Thanks to its unique taste, a logo from the 60’s and a great versatility, Brasilena has become popular all around the world, reaching even America, China and Australia.
Some interesting trivia related to this beverage is that in Calabria when it is too late for a coffee yet too early for an alcoholic drink, among friends you usually say “Vediamoci per una Brasilena” (in English: “Let’s meet for a Brasilena”). If you are wondering what the reason behind this beverage’s success, you should keep in mind that it is not produced by some big international corporation but it remains a small company located in the Catanzaro province: Acqua Calabria. But how did we get to the invention and production of Brasilena?
The story of Brasilena, one of the most famous Italian soft drinks
The owner of the activity, Cesare Cristofaro, says that the recipe of the Brasilena is in fact very old and goes way back even before the business venture of Acqua Calabria started. In the 1930s Cesare’s grandfather owned a small emporium in Girifalco, a small village in the Catanzaro province, where he used to prepare beverages by himself using raw materials. Randomly one day he thought to infuse the toasted coffee in sparkling water, thus creating a refreshing drink with a unique taste: initially it was called “Gazzosa al caffè”.
One should keep in mind that at the time rules were different for drink bottling: the prefects of the province, in fact, issued the permits based on the number of residents and the village of Grifalco too few people to actually be able to obtain the permits. So at the very beginning, the drink had to be sold open sale, and Cesare’s grandfather was not able to trademark it,
However, later on after World War II, obtaining a permit was made easier, to help out all those businesses that were hit hard. On the other hand, it became mandatory to provide the list of ingredients and the name of the owner on the label. If you think about it, in modern days it seems pretty obvious that the label should provide all the ingredients contained in any one product, but in fact this is something pretty recent, a measure established after the Second World War.
In the 60’s the Cristofaro family, despite the difficulties, managed to open a factory specialized in beverage bottling, thanks to an extraordinary commitment and an amazing ability. On that occasion, the name “Brasilena” was trademarked for the first time: the grandfather, however, wanted the ingredients to be high quality and refined. As a result, about 10 years after the company started its journey it began to use an oligomineral water produced in Calabria. This was a winning idea that allowed the business to get bigger and produce other beverages, including some lemon soft drinks, very similar to the classic gazzosa.
Italian soft drinks: ingredients and packaging of Brasilena
As it doesn’t contain any alcohol, the Brasilena is an Italian soft drink that can be consumed by anyone: currently it is much more popular in the South of Italy but generally speaking it is also known in other areas of Italy and also internationally.
What is the secret behind one of the most famous Italian soft drinks? Probably its versatility: it can be consumed at any time like any other drink or used as an ingredient to make a cocktail: the recipe requires a specific mix of natural aromas extracted from coffee which make Brasilena a one-of-a-kind drink.
It should be highlighted that the packaging is as good as the beverage itself: the label features 60’s-inspired details which give it a vintage look which helps convey the history of the product. Furthermore, the owners are very sensible to environmental issues: 80% of production relies on glass bottles, which can be reused.
Brasilena, as you might have guessed, has a unique history and taste: so why not give it a try, or better yet use it to create some amazing homemade cocktails!
Featured image: Taste Atlas