What gin is for the British is Ginjinha (or Ginja) for the Lisboetas. Everyone in Lisbon knows someone who distills this drink in their backyard. If you’re not that lucky, or don’t have your own distillery at hand, then you can buy a shot of Ginjinha on the street everywhere in Lisbon, for example near Rossio, at A Ginjinha.
Ginja and aguardente
Ginjinha is a cherry liqueur made by the slightly sour ginja cherry – known in Belgium as’ kriek -, to be mixed with aguardente and sugar. Aguardenteis a collective name for alcohol of more than 40% and the literal translation is ‘fire water’. The result is a fantastically sweet, sour-ish and pretty strong drink.
Uma Ginjinha – por favor!
A Ginjinha is no bigger than a hole in the wall with a folding bar with a bartender who works on less than two square meters. Place your order inside and drink outside. And if you’d think this shop is for tourists only, you’d be wrong. You’ll be accompanied by many Lisboetas empty their glass. Sometimes it can be tricky to even find the entrance!
Once you have found the entrance you can choose between a glass of Ginjinha with (com) or without (sem) the cherry (I always choose without the cherry, especially if you want to see more of the city later on). The last time we took our shot, in June 2018, it cost us about € 1.30 (£1,10) for a glass.
Where to find A Ginjinha
Adress: Largo de São Domingos 8, Baixa
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.