Lisbon may be one of the trendiest capitals in Europe these days, but there is a tasty face of it popular culture few visitors have discovered: Ginja. This strong, sweet cheery liqueur is the unofficial drink of Portugal’s capital, and trying it is a rich experience. And, an affordable one. Two centuries ago Lisbon was surrounded by fruit orchards, and the local bitter cherries mixed well with the local brandy, or aguardente, making ginja. Tiny ginja bars sprung up around the Rossio, the heart of the city, some no larger than a doorway. Many survive today, offering their own small-batch produced ginja, fondly called a ginjinha by the locals. Two are quite famous. Next to the Arco da Bandeira, this is a little ginja house that in the 1830s was a hotbed for revolutionaries, poets, Fado singers, and artists. The Tendinha was captured in song in the Fado “Tendinha” as made famous by Amalia Rodrigues.
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