I was 23 and in Lisbon the first time I came across Ginjinha, or just Ginja. Served by the shot from small caverns carved out of staircases or other restaurants, the cherry liqueur was unlike anything I had before, and it remains a unique offering amongst the various “local” spirits found across the globe. While, of course, I will forever associate Ginja with crisp fall days along the Tagus, the bright, semi-sweet liqueur is more than just a madeline memory seen through rose-tinted, drunk goggles. That’s especially true when you try an expression as delicious as Vila das Rainhas Ginja D’Obidos.
I love Ginja in basically every form I’ve had it–though served in a chocolate cup can be too cloying under certain circumstances, see summertime in Lisbon. Still, there’s something special about Vila das Rainhas Ginja D’Obidos. It’s bright, full, and filled with more energy and depth than any other Ginjinha I’ve tasted.
It comes from further up the coast in Obidos, a small town in Oeste region. The liqueur is made according to its traditional convent’s recipe and without any colorings or flavorings. After the sour cherries have been picked, they are selected and placed in an alcoholic infusion in steel vats, where they rest for a “long period” of time.
The resulting Ginja is one of particular intensity. Ruby in tone, it possesses potent sour cherry aromas and flavors. It is a round and soft example of the liqueur and one that will have you ordering glass after glass, if not bottle after bottle.
In the short time this particular Ginja has been in my hands, it has already become a favorite tipple of neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Unlike many good things you wish to hide away, the Vila das Rainhas Ginja D’Obidos is something that must be shared. After a good meal under a summer’s night, it brings light to faces and warmth to conversation. In all, there’s a joy found in this Ginja like a hearty laugh.
You can find yourself a bottle by heading to Ginja-USA.com.