Guaraná is a stimulant drink very popular all throughout Brazil. It’s the local alternative to Coca-Cola, Fanta, Pepsi and other products from the multinationals – mind you, the most famous brands of guaraná are bottled by those same multinationals.
The drink is made from the seed of the fruit of the same name (scientific name: Paullinia cupana). The small tree from which the fruit grows is found in the north of Brazil only – and in parts of Venezuela.
The big names in the guaraná market are Antarctica and Kuat. In the north of Brazil there are several local brands with no distribution elsewhere in the country.
In the state of Maranhão, and only there, you can drink the extraordinary Guaraná Jesús, Maranhão’s national drink. Paradoxically, the drink does not contain guaraná, it is made with cloves and cinnamon, that give Guaraná Jesús a sickly sweet flavour. For the Scots out there, Guaraná Jesús is to Maranhão what Irn Bru is to Scotland.