A Ginjinha: Where to get it and what it is

© Philippe Tarbouriech

Ginjinha or simply Ginja, is a Portuguese liquor made by infusing ginja berries 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. It is a favorite liqueur of many Portuguese and a typical drink in Lisbon, Alcobaça and Óbidos.

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. 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 liters per year. In many places of Portugal, especially in the Lisbon and Oeste regions, there are several producers of this traditional liqueur.

In Óbidos, Ginjinha is commonly served in a small edible chocolate cup.