Ginginha – a Portuguese cherry liqueur

Ficheiro:Ginjinha store.jpg
Ginjinha or simply Ginja, is a liqueur made by infusing ginja berries, (sour cherry) (Prunus cerasus austera, the Morello cherry) in alcohol (aguardente is used) and adding sugar together with other ingredients. Ginjinha is served in a shot form with a piece of the fruit in the bottom of the cup which is said to be “com elas“, or without the cherries, “sem elas“… It is a favourite liqueur of many Portuguese and a typical drink in Lisbon, Óbidos, Alcobaça and Algarve.
The Ginjinha of the Praça de São Domingos in Lisbon was the first establishment in that city to commercialize the drink that gives its name to it. A friar of the Church of Santo Antonio, Francisco Espinheira, had the experience of leaving ginja berries in aguardente (the Portuguese brandy), adding sugar, water and cinnamon. The success was immediate and Ginginha became the typical drink of Lisbon. In the 2000s, the business was in the hands of the fifth generation. Currently, “the Ginjinha” is an exporter for the market in the United States. The production of Ginjinha reached over 150 thousand litres per year. In Óbidos, Ginjinha is commonly served in a small edible chocolate cup.
Recipe (in Portuguese! Will translate upon request 🙂 )

Utilize ginjas maduras mas sem qualquer tipo de beliscadura, uma boa aguardente sem cair em exageros, se não tiver hipótese de comprar aguardente caseira, uma “S. Domingos” serve perfeitamente.

Passe as ginjas por água para retirar o pó, tire-lhes os pés, e seque as ginjas com papel absorvente para retirar o excesso de água da lavagem.

Coloque as ginjas em garrafas de boca larga até 1/3 do volume da garrafa, ponha o açúcar até chegar ao nível da fruta, um pau de canela, tape e abane a garrafa ligeiramente para envolver o açúcar na fruta e deixe repousar até ao dia seguinte.

No dia seguinte, acabe de encher a garrafa com aguardente, tape e abane as garrafas diariamente durante pelo menos uma semana. Coloque rótulos e guarde-as num local escuro durante pelo menos três meses, ao final desse tempo prove para ver se está bom de açúcar, senão estiver acrescente mais uma ou duas colheres de açúcar conforme o gosto e volte a tapar a garrafa. Ao fim de seis meses está pronta a beber, mas aconselho vivamente a esperar um ano para provar o delicioso néctar…

Nota Importante:

Nunca use açúcar amarelo senão a ginja vai ficar com pé.

Ginjinha Without Rival - Lisbon, Lisboa

Rick Steves says:

“In the late afternoon, for a quintessential Lisbon drink, duck into one of the funky hole-in-the-wall shops throughout town and ask for a ginginha (zheen-zheen-yah). Sold for about a buck a shot, it’s a sweet liquor made from the sour cherry-like ginja berry, sugar, and schnapps. The only choices are: With or without berries (com or sem fruta ) and gelada if you want it from a chilled bottle out of the fridge-very nice. In Portugal when someone is impressed by the taste of something, they say, ” Sabe melhor que nem ginjas ” (It tastes even better than ginja). ”


We say … it’s great served with extra cherries as a topping for cheesecake …

1 Comment

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One response to “Ginginha – a Portuguese cherry liqueur

  1. Pingback: Directory | Villa do Vale, Algarve, Portugal

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