While port wine and vinho verde are well known outside the country, there are many other traditional alcoholic options to try out when you're visiting Portugal. Ginjinha is a sweet, sticky liqueur made from mixing ginja berries, a type of sour cherry, with water, sugar, cinnamon, and aguardente (a strong spirit that literally translates as firewater!)
If you're in a traditional ginjinha bar, you'll always be asked if you'd like it served "com ela" or "sem ela" (with or without the berry in your glass). Go for it com ela, and be sure to make like the locals and suck on the stone for a little while before spitting in on the pavement (or discretely back in your glass if you're inside!)
Often shortened to ginja, the drink is available from bars, restaurants, and kiosks all over Lisbon and in a few nearby towns. If you're looking for the best places to try ginjinha, any—or if you're feeling brave, all—of these are great options.
01 of 09
Credited with being the first bar in the world where you could buy ginjinha, A Ginjinha is easy to find. Just off Rossio square, in Largo São Domingos, this tiny traditional establishment dates back to around 1840, and only holds a handful of people.
As with all the best ginjinha bars, expect to stand outside while you drink, and watch your feet—there'll be cherry stones all around! It's popular with locals and tourists alike, so don't be surprised if there's a bit of a wait.
02 of 09
Set up in direct competition only a few yards down the road, Ginjinha Sem Rival is a good alternative if A Ginjinha looks too busy. You'll pay similar prices to elsewhere in the tourist neighborhoods, around 1.40 euros, to drink in this historic old building, or outside on the street.
The line can get long at times, but the bar staff is quick and efficient, so you should only need to wait a minute or two.
03 of 09
Located at the base of the stairs outside Rossio train station, Ginjinha do Carmo is another of those small, charming bars that Lisbon seems to specialize in.
Taking a cue from the ginjinha sellers in the town of Óbidos, for a few extra cents you can have your drink in an edible chocolate cup instead of the traditional glass or plastic. It's well worth trying it this way at least once!
Once you've had your fill of the sweet, sticky liqueur, the bar also has a small range of wine, beer and soft drinks to encourage you to linger a while longer.
04 of 09
Mouraria, the old Moorish quarter of Lisbon, is rapidly transforming from a run-down neighborhood to an interesting and vibrant alternative to the main tourist spots nearby. If your wanderings take you into these narrow streets behind Martim Moniz square, take the time to stop in for a ginjinha at Os Amigos Da Severa.
Away from the crowds, you'll get a quieter, more personal experience, with friendly, unhurried bar staff and, most likely, a group of older locals to chat to while you drink. The hardest part will be tearing yourself away to keep exploring the city!Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Sitting, as the name suggests, just down the road from Lisbon's sé (cathedral), Ginjinha da Sé is the place to go if you're after good food with your tasting. The meat and cheese board is particularly popular.
Don't worry if there's no room inside, as one of the outside tables—or even just sitting on a chair along the wall—is the place to be on a warm evening anyway.
With excellent service, a range of beers and wines to accompany your meal, and a glass or two of ginjinha to finish things off, a great night is all but guaranteed.
06 of 09
If you're after proof that ginjinha and small plates of food are a great combination, look no further than O Cantinho Da Rute a little further up the street.
Sit down with the locals, and order your liqueur along with a few tapas. If you're a meat eater, you can't skip the chouriço sausage, cooked at your table to add to the experience.
With friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere, it's the kind of place where you stop for a quick drink and emerge several hours later wondering where the night has gone. Although maybe that's just the ginja.
07 of 09
The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is one of Lisbon's best viewpoints, at the top of the hill where the neighborhoods of Bairro Alto and Principe Real collide. With panoramic views across the city, it's the perfect place to linger and take in the sights—and several food and drink stands regularly set up to help you do just that.
While the ginjinha you buy from one of these kiosks may not be the absolute cheapest or highest quality you can find in the city, the views and atmosphere on a warm summer evening are unbeatable.
08 of 09
The TimeOut Market food hall in Cais do Sodre has become one of the must-visit attractions in Lisbon since it opened, but don't rush away as soon as you've finished exploring its cavernous interior.
Almost alongside sits Ginja Com Elas, whose knowledgeable owner runs an old-school bar specializing in the famous liqueur. There's also a range of wines available if you've hit your sugar limit for the day, plus a selection of hot and cold snacks.
Despite the name, you're welcome to ask for your ginjinha without the berry if you'd prefer!Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Ginjinha Das Gaveas
For a non-touristy experience in the heart of Lisbon's tourist zone, seek out Ginjinha Das Gaveas. Only a few yards uphill from bustling Camões Square, this small, dark bar is easy to miss.
Once you've found it, though, you'll be glad you made the effort. Grab one of the few tables, and be sure to try the smooth house ginjinha before moving onto wine or cocktails. It's a great place to start or end a night out in Bairro Alto.