Have you ever heard of ginja (pronounced zheen-dja) before?
If you’ve ever visited the country of Portugal, the answer to this question is probably a “yes.” However, if you haven’t had the pleasure of spending time in this lovely Mediterranean country, this word might be totally foreign to you.
So, what is ginja?
Ginja is a liquor that is obtained by adding a mixture of sour cherries, water, sugar, and cinnamon into a liquor known as “aguardente.” The mix is left to sit for several months until the beverage is ready to be consumed.
This alcoholic beverage has a sweet and sour taste that is made even more intense by its alcoholic content. But while it might look intimidating, ginja only contains between 18-20% alcohol.
The sour cherries in the drink are sometimes poured into the cup as well! People are asked if they want the drink “com ou sem elas,” meaning with or without them. Those that order ginja with the cherries in the cup often eat them and then spit the pit onto the street.
These days, you can even order a ginja shot inside of a chocolate “cup.” After drinking the ginja, eat the chocolate cup and enjoy the delicious harmony between the dark chocolate and the sweetness of the drink.
Be sure to try ginja if you find yourself in Lisbon or any other Portuguese city.