Ginja9 ginjinha sour cherry liqueur. Sooo, I first heard about ginjinha liqueur over half a year ago from @making_cocktails_llf who picked up a couple bottles on a trip to Portugal. She raved about how delicious it was and how nothing quite compares. I have never seen ginja in stores around here, so you can imagine my excitement when Ginja9 (an independent importer of Portuguese ginja) reached out and shared a bottle with me.
Ginjinha (ginja for short) is a traditional liqueur that’s been around for centuries, originally produced by Portuguese monks (monks seriously create the best liqueurs…Chartreuse, Benedictine…). The liqueur is made by infusing tart Morello cherries (locally known as “ginja” berries) in a neutral spirit and sweetening with sugar and other spices.
Wow, this stuff is DELICIOUS. And truly unique. I compared this to the two possibly closest bottles I have: Cherry Heering and the syrup from a jar of Luxardo brandied cherries. Neither was a good match. The ginja was light, tart, and super aromatic with the flavors of sour cherries. It’s not so cloyingly sweet so it’s enjoyable to drink on its own just with a couple ice cubes. One popular way of enjoying these is in a dark chocolate cup, and my goodness what a treat that is! To compare, Cherry Heering was thick and syrup-y and actually tasted quite herbal in contrast. The Luxardo syrup was more honey-like and jammy (definitely not something you’d ever just sip on).
If you’re in California, you can order some from Ginja9’s online shop, otherwise you can try looking for other importers of ginja available in your area. Have you tried ginja?