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Ginjinha Bar Lisbon and the Ginja Drink

Ginja is a sweet cherry liqueur that originated in Lisbon and the small Ginjinha bar is the traditional home of the drink. The Ginjinha bar provides visitors the opportunity to sample this wonderfully strong alcoholic drink. Ginja is based upon a fortified wine that has been infused with Ginja cherries and combined with vast amounts of sugar. The Ginja drink is served straight, with the choice of either an alcohol laden cherry or not. The Portuguese are incredibly sentimental to this drink, as it was a "grand-parent" wonder cure for all manner of illnesses and this love of the drink has been passed onto younger generations. Ginja is the shortened name of Ginjinha.

Tourist Guide for the Ginjinha Bar Lisbon

Ginjinha Ginja LisbonA bottle of the Ginjinha

The Ginjinha bar lies to the east of the Teatro Nacional Maria in the Praca Dom Pedro IV square, which is more commonly known as Rossio. A shot of the sweet drink cost €1.20 and though it is unlikely to cure many illnesses it is a great way to start a day of sightseeing! There are two variants of the drink of Ginja either with cherries or with out. As the cherries have been soaked in the liquor they give an additional kick to the drink. The special Ginjinha cherries are Morello Cherries or more commonly known as Sour Cherries. The miniature Ginjinha Espinheira bar remains busy from when it opens in the morning until the last person staggers home, attracting both tourists and Portuguese alike.

History of the Ginjinha (Ginja) Drink

The shop "Ginjinha do Largo de Sao Domingo's" was owned by a Galician named Espinheira and was the first bar in Lisbon to sell the beverage. Advised by a friar from the Igreja de Santo Antonio, Espinheria experimented by letting cherries ferment in brandy then adding sugar water and cinnamon. The Ginjinha Espinheira bar was founded in 1840 and has been popular every since as the drink was sweet and inexpensive to produce. At the turn of the 20th century a small shot of the drink was given to children as a cure to many minor illness.

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