Top 10 Addresses to Taste Traditional Portuguese Liquors
It’s no secret that Portugal is known for its liquors, wines and overall alcoholic culture. Lisbon, being the most important city in Portugal, it certainly is a very good place to have a nice drink and enjoy your time.
One of the most iconic liquors in Portugal is Ginjinha. There are places in Lisbon that have been serving it for more than a century! Ginjinha is what locals call to the Morello cherry liqueur. Morello is a sour cherry that is usually cultivated in Portugal, and there are rumors that it has been part of the liquor culture since the 17th century! It’s no wonder that you can literally find a place to drink it in every corner. Some of these bars are so tiny you can’t fit more than three or four people inside! They usually consist of a couple of shelves, a simple counter, and a bartender!
Vinho do Port
Another really popular and really good liquor is Vinho do Port – or Port Wine . It’s probably the most iconic drink in Portugal. It’s made of grapes, and those grapes are cultivated in the Douro vineyards, around Porto. The vineyards themselves have a really characteristic composition, they’re made in terraces. The whole field was handmade, and this artificial geography gives the place special conditions in which the grapes and the wine itself can get special properties. The grapes are really sweet and the fields are really sunny. The harvest is all handmade, and in ancient times the wine barrels were shipped down the river in small boats, to be consumed in the big cities.
The last liquor, and also a liqueur, is Licor Beirão!
The story goes like this: In the end of the 9th century, a port wine salesman and the daughter of a pharmacist fell in love, and got married. In the pharmacy they sold ‘’natural liqueurs’’ with an ancient secret formulae. Meanwhile, the law forbid medicinal liqueurs, and a northern young man saw the chance and started making handmade liqueurs.
The history of our liqueur, then started based on the pillars which are still in place today. Born from love, from a wish and an originality which combines pharmacies, salesman and spills over into Portugal when poured into every glass.
This liqueur is really popular due to its marketing and really good and creative advertisement. Every christmas, Licor Beirão is a typical gift, and they have really good christmas campaigns, as well as special editions.
Read on and I’ll present to you the top 10 places to taste traditional Portuguese liquors in Lisbon:
1. Ginjinha sem rival
Address: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 7 1150-268 Lisboa
Schedule: Everyday 07:00 – 24:00
Founded in the XIX century, by the grandfather of the current owner, this bar is so historic that it’s part of an initiative developed by the Lisbon Hall, called ‘’Lojas com história” or, in English, “Shops with history”. There’s even an website where you can see the rest of the shops!
The liquor is served inside a small cup, and you can ask ‘’com’’ or ‘’sem’’, meaning that you can drink it with or without the cherry inside! I’d go with ‘’com’’, but you may not like the sour taste of the cherry!
2. Ginjinha Espinheira
Address: Largo São Domingos 8, 1100-201 Lisboa
Schedule: Everyday 09:00 – 22:00
In Lisbon, the first glasses of Ginjinha were sold here by Francisco Espinheira, a Galician immigrant. He left the cherries in ‘aguardente’ (a Portuguese strong brandy), adding plenty of sugar, water and cinnamon. This is the typical Portuguese recipe for making Ginjinha!
It worked out so well that they’ve been doing business since 1840.
Drinking a Ginjinha here is more than just having a drink, it is a cultural experience — locals and tourist gather outside the bar there, socializing while enjoying their drink. A genuine Lisbon moment that’ll make you feel like a true Lisbon local!
Ginjinha Espinheira is also part of the ‘’Lojas com História” initiative.
3. Ginjinha Rubi
Address: Rua Barros Queirós 27 1100-076 Lisboa
Schedule: Everyday 07:00 – 00:00
GInjinha Rubi is a really nice place to drink Ginjinha. The blue tiles on the wall tell really old tales, some are more comic, while others are more tragic. You can decide, while you drink one of the best Ginjinha in Lisbon, according to some. Locals really enjoy this place as it’s a really old place, and one that seems eternal, where they can always find comfort and a familiar face, and a place to drink ‘’o usual’’ (“the usual”).
The cherries come from Óbidos, a small town near Lisbon that is really famous for having the best cherries, and even the best Ginjinha in the whole country, so it’s no wonder that the drink is so popular, and the place itself is.
Ginjinha Rubi is also part of the ‘’Lojas com História” initiative.
4. Solar do Vinho do Porto
R. de São Pedro de Alcântara 45, 1200-211 Lisboa
Schedule: Everyday but Sunday 11:00–00:00
Solar do Vinho do Porto was part of an initiative from the Instituto de Vinhos do Douro e Porto (Institute of Wines and Wine from Porto and Douro), to promote wine from the region. Initially, 200 different types of wine were represented at this bar, and now there’s certainly much more. Due to this, now you don’t necessarily have to go to the city of Porto to sample all kinds of port wine and choose from a selection of Portuguese cheeses and hams to accompany the wines.
From reasonably-priced bottles to really expensive ones, you can drink all kinds of Port wine, in a really cozy and classical environment. The interior by designer Paulo Lobo restored antique furniture, and the tasting room preserves the original tiles of the palace. Yes, the palace! This place is located inside an old palace. The building itself is from the 18th century, and it’s facing Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Try to see the view from the Miradouro (Viewpoint), as it has one of the best views in town.
5. Grapes & Bites
Address: R. do Norte 85, 1200-284, Lisboa, Portugal
Schedule: Everyday from 12:30 to 00:00
In one of the most typical and emblematic neighbourhoods of Lisbon, there’s Grapes & Bites. With a carefully decorated interior, where stoned arches from another time surprise those who come in, in this space you can enjoy a warm reception and an exclusive environment.
The portuguese ‘’bites’’ you can have here are really famous, and they’re really classic and typical. The Portuguese Cheeses, the black pork ham, cod en gratin, and every other dish, there’s a lot to choose from, and your appetite will certainly be grateful!
While you snack you can drink Port Wine and other liquors.
6. Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho
Address: Rua da Mãe d’Água à Praça da Alegria, 1250-000 Lisboa
Schedule: 15:00 to 22:00
The award winning Enoteca Chafariz do Vinho is located inside an old aqueduct that used to deliver water to the whole town in ancient times! This aqueduct can be seen in multiple places of Lisbon, and is known as ‘’Aqueduto das Águas Livres’’, and you can even visit it and see the infrastructure as well. At Chafariz do Vinho there’s lots of wine and liquor to choose from, as well as snacks and dishes that you can try and overall have a great time.
It is said that Chafariz do Vinho is the oldest wine bar in the whole city, and it was pioneer in wine tasting, being one of the first places to do it!
7. Quiosque Licor Beirão
Address: Avenida 24 de Julho 49 TimeOut Market, Lisbon 1200-479 Portugal
Schedule: 10:00 to 24:00
Located in TimeOut Market, Quiosque Licor Beirão is a great place to drink Licor Beirão, one of the typical liquors in Portugal. The cocktails there are amazing, and it’s located in one of the most important places in Lisbon.
The place where the kiosk is located is a really good place to visit, and there you can try all the things Portugal has to offer. TimeOut Market could be an article by itself, but it’s main importance lies in the fact that it used to be a typical old market, with fish, fruits, and every grocery you could want to buy. It was then turned into a unique place to eat and talk to other people.
You can grab food or drinks from every place, but there’s only one place to eat and drink, where all people sit on the same table and enjoy their food and drinks at the same time, and chat about miscellaneous subjects.
8. Red Frog
Address: Rua do Salitre, 5 A Lisboa 1250-198
Schedule: 18h00 to 04:00
Red Frog is considered the best bars in Portugal, and it’s part of The World’s 50 Best Bars. It’s a Speakeasy bar. Speakeasy bars are inspired in the bars that existed during the Dry Law, which prohibited alcohol fabrication.
These bars are really discrete, located in places that don’t look like bars, and are usually very quiet. At Red Frog, the cocktails are very diverse, and you can ask for any liquor you’d want.
Apart from the prize of being the best bar in Portugal, it’s menu was considered the best of Portugal.
9. Adega Machado
Address: Rua do Norte 91, 1200-284 Lisboa
Schedule: From 19h30 to 02:00
Founded in 1937 and located in one of the most important parts of the city, Adega Machado is a really great place to taste the liquors of Portugal. It’s charming decoration and nice staff make the place the icon it is. With live Fado and a really good menu to choose from, there’s a lot of emblematical portuguese dishes like: green soup with cornbread and sausage, slivers of cod fish, the daily chef’s selected fish, the black pork loin with bread crust and olives, amongst others.
The dishes are well cooked, and even though classical, they are still contemporary, which means some of the dishes have been updated to today’s standards.
The cleverly placed paintings on the wall show us there was a lot of care taken when decorating this space, and the paintings greatly contribute to the whole environment, with fado on focus.
Address: Alto de São Francisco 21, 1250-228 Lisboa
Schedule: From 18h00 to 02:00
Another speakeasy bar, a really discrete one. To go in, you have to knock on the door, and the low light environment can be really tormenting. A fireplace and the decoration are the main elements that give away its style: Procópio is a vintage bar, that was inaugurated in 1972. On that time, it was already considered a retro bar, and it has been a reference to politicians, intellectuals and everyone that wants to have a drink in a good environment.
It’s story is a really deep one: Before the 25th of April of 1974, women were not allowed to leave their homes without their husbands, since we lived in a dictatorship.
Procópio was one of the places they were allowed to go to, because it was considered a cultural experience, and not fun, and so women could enjoy themselves and have a good time, without being judged. It has survived ever since, and it keeps reinventing itself, going through the times as an icon of resistance.
Supermarkets in Portugal are really great places to get alcohol, and very good liquors, at really affordable prices. They’re everywhere and you can buy Beirão, Porto or even Ginjinha (this one is hardest to find in normal supermarkets) at very low prices, and you can enjoy these while you’re standing in your balcony, or tripping around town, enjoying the city.
You can also find these at the Lisbon’s Airport, which means you can take them home as well! Take a bit of Portugal with you and enjoy it while remembering the good times you had here!
Just remember, don’t drink too much and be responsible, or don’t drink at all if you’re not legally allowed to.