Ginjinha Sem Rival literally means Ginjinha without a rival. It’s funny that this little bar is called this way, because just a stone’s throw away you’ll find enough other Ginjinha bars. Maybe they think they’re without any competition…
We don’t think it matters much if you get your Ginja at Ginjinha sem Rival, A Ginjinha of Ginjinha do Carmo they all taste equally delicious.
Ginja is the name of the liqueur, Lisboetas lovingly call it ginjinha, which means small glass – perhaps also because ginja is often served in a shot glass here.
Ginja is made by mixing the slightly sour ginja cherry with aguardente (firewater) and sugar. This mix becomes a strong sweet liqueur which makes it perfect as an aperitif.
Drinking Ginja on 4 square meters
We love to drink the homemade Ginja our good friend Isabel makes each year. But due to the wet winter of 2017 the harvest failed and we have to do without the homemade ginja this year.
Fortunately there are bars like Ginjinha sem Rival, which also distill the ginja themselves and ensure that there is sufficient continuity in the supply. Ginja Sem Rival opened its doors in 1890 and is still run by the same family at the same location.
The bar is no larger than a few square metres (roughly 20 sq feet), so small that you can easily miss it. Fortunately, there is often a queue and you see people drinking in front of the entrance, so it’s not that easy to miss.
Fewer than 4 people fit in the shop, so it is wise to do what the locals do: order your ginja (with or without a cherry), grab your glass and go outside to enjoy the drink. In June 2018 we paid 1.40 euros for a glass.
If you want to try something else than ginja, Ginjinha sem Rival also has Eduardino.
Legend has it that the recipe for this liqueur was invented by a clown called Eduardino. He was a famous Italian clown from a circus that once had a show in the city. Every time this clown was in town he went to the same bar. Instead of asking for a standard drink, he chose different types of liqueurs, mixing everything in one cocktail. He drank it all at once and had enough energy to get back to work and make people laugh.
The liqueur is sweet with lots of herbs, fruit and anise. It is sweeter than ginja, but the alcohol content (23.5%) is slightly higher. Ginja Sem Rival is the only place where you can get Eduardino. It’s definitely worth a try, even if it’s just to appreciate the story behind it.
Where to find Ginjinha sem Rival
Adress:R. Portas de Santo Antão 7, Baixa
Opening Hours: every day Monday through Friday: 08 a.m. – 00:00 | Saturday & Sunday: 09 a.m. – 00:00