A new drink in northeast Brazil is shaking up the country’s favorite liquor, cachaca, by adding an unusual twist: marijuana roots.
Pituconha is a new take on cachaca, the sugar cane alcohol used in caipirinhas, the famed Brazilian cocktail.
Its name is a play on Pitu, one of the best-known cachaca brands, and maconha, the Portuguese word for cannabis.
It is the new craze in the city of Cabrobo, where vendors sell it in bottles strongly reminiscent of Pitu’s, the Folha de Sao Paulo reported on its Web site on Friday.
Pituconha — which costs 30 reals (US$14) a bottle — sports the same red crayfish logo as Pitu, though the bottle identifies its contents as “sugar spirits with marijuana roots.”
The tongue-in-cheek label on the back of the bottle reads: “Transport ministry warning: It’s not the mule in the road that’s dangerous, it’s the ass behind the wheel.”
An official at the Cabrobo mayor’s office told the newspaper that local residents had recently begun collecting plant roots left over after police operations to eradicate the region’s widespread marijuana plantations.
Cachaca producers reportedly pay 100 reals for a 30kg bag of the cannabis roots.
Police have not yet determined whether the new drink is legal, Folha de Sao Paulo reported. However, it said an analysis it commissioned found only “minute” traces of THC, the active compound in marijuana.
Cabrobo is in Pernambuco State, about 500km west of Recife, the state capital and one of 12 host cities for the FIFA World Cup, set to kickoff on June 12.