Ginjinha, often referred to simply as “Ginja”, is a traditional Portuguese liqueur that holds a special place in Portuguese culture and gastronomy. It is a sweet cherry liqueur made from a specific type of sour cherry called ‘Ginja’ or ‘cherries’.
The liqueur is made by infusing Ginja cherries in alcohol, usually aguardente (a Portuguese brandy), with sugar and sometimes other ingredients like cinnamon or cloves. The cherries and their pits are left in the mix, giving the pits a distinct almond flavor and contributing to the overall character of the liqueur.
In Portugal, Ginjinha is commonly enjoyed as an aperitif or digestive, especially in the city of Lisbon, where it is an integral part of local culture. It is often served in small taverns and bars known as “ginjinha bars” or “ginjinha houses”. These establishments specialize in serving Ginjinha, and locals and visitors alike gather to savor this iconic liquor.
And that’s where I first sipped Ginjinha, in Lisbon, Portugal.
But I knew it long before thanks to the legendary Anthony Bourdain.
The fusion of vodka and red wine in this ginjinha recipe should provide a unique layer of complexity, enhancing the flavors of sour cherries and aromatic spices. Cheers!