Ginja Sem Rival
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Portuguese Cherry Liqueur
In the Rossio in Lisbon, there is a tiny, very popular tavern called "Ginjinha Sem Rival" (Ginjinha Without Rivals or The Best Ginjinha), 7 Rua Portas de Santo Antao. This shop was the first to sell this now famous liqueur. The family has produced this brew for about 150 years and opened this establishment after about 27 years, in 1890. They value their recipe and the family still runs the tavern. Ginjinha is a concoction of water, cinnamon, sugar, aguardente (fire water), and sour cherries. Many people really enjoy it. I am sorry to admit that I have tried it and I do not. Stand in the little area by the Church of St. Domingues and watch the people (tourists and locals alike) wait their turn at the small counter. Almost all seem to enjoy the ginjinha and the ritual wait. They step up and the owner pours the drink and asks "Com o sem"? (with or without?) You decide if you want the cherries or not. Be forewarned - the cherries hold most of the liquor and are pretty potent! Stop by and try ginjinha and see if you like it. You might want to try another tavern or two and compare the liqueurs. This is a fun stop to add to your "to do list" in Lisbon.
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