Liquid inspiration

Ginginha

“Com elas ou sem elas?” with or without, asked the waiter as we got to the front of the line at “A Ginjinha,” a small bar in Lisbon’s Largo of São Domingos. “With” we answered. He nodded with approval, picking up a bottle with a cherry infusion to pour the liquid into a small glass, deftly lifting a wood stopper to let a single cherry go by.

The bar’s specialty is a delicious liqueur called “ginjinha” made of sour cherries. It is produced in the nearby village of Arruda dos Vinhos and bottled under the brand Espinheira. The name is a tribute to Francisco Espinheira, the monk who, according to legend, had the brilliant idea of macerating sour cherries (ginjas) in brandy, sugar, and cinnamon.

A Galician entrepreneur opened the bar in 1840 to serve ginjinha to the public. Five generations later, the bar still belongs to his family.

Fernando Pessoa, the great poet, was a regular customer at A Ginjinha.  What a privilege it is to drink from the same source of inspiration!

A Ginjinha is located on Largo de São Domingos, 8, Lisbon.

 

 

Ginjinha

“Ginjinha” is a liquor made from sour cherries called “ginjas.” It is produced in various locations, including Alcobaça, Bombarral, and Caldas da Rainha. But the most famous ginjinha comes from Óbidos, a region where the Romans planted cherry trees.

There are several producers, including FrutÓbidos, Oppidum (the Latin name for Óbidos), and Ibn Errik Rex (the Arab name for the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques). Each producer has its proprietary, carefully guarded, secret recipe.

You won’t be surprised, dear reader, to know that we have our own secret ginjinha recipe. Rumor has it that our ginjinha is made only from ginjas harvested during the new moon and that it uses dew collected at dawn from the petals of wild flowers. We are neither confirming nor denying.