Popular Drinks in Portugal that the Locals Swear By
No doubt that one of the greatest things about traveling to a new place is getting to sample the local food and drink. Cuisine is central to culture, so to get a real taste of a new place you have to indulge a bit. If you want to blend in like a local, here are some of the most popular drinks in Portugal to try at the neighborhood bars and cafés!
There’s nothing better on a warm, summer day than to cool down with a frothy glass of Sagres beer. On tap at many local bars and restaurants, it’s one of the top two beers available in Portugal. This lager is light and easy to drink and isn’t too filling. It has a nice, crisp taste that’s refreshing and perfect to drink when the temperatures start to rise. Sagres is cheap and easy to find at any bar, so you won’t have any problem finding it. Tip: drink one near a Portuguese beach for maximum enjoyment!
No trip to Portugal is complete without having a glass or two of vinho verde. The wine itself is not actually green, but it’s translation can mean “green” as in “young.” Others believe that the “green” comes from the rolling, green hills of the grape vineyards themselves. These young wines only age for about 3-6 months and tend to be on the acidic side. Vinho verdes can be red, white, or rosé, and are usually served chilled. These wines are quite light and pair with a variety of foods and proteins. Ask your server for their recommendations, or simply go with the house wine when in doubt. Sometimes you can just say the variety you prefer at a bar and you will get whichever bottle is already open.
Want to try something really unique to Portugal? Order a glass of ginjinha, or more simply, ginja. This cherry liqueur is a specialty of a bar in Lisbon, A Ginjinha, from which it gets its name. Similar to a Spanish vermouth, ginja is fortified wine mixed with sugar and sour cherries and aged to perfection. Since ginja is very sweet and quite strong, the most typical way to drink it is as a small shot. A bit of fruit rests at the bottom of the shot glass and the ginja is poured over. From there, you can sip on it at your leisure. It’s one of the most popular drinks in Portugal among the locals, and a real authentic experience in a cup!
Another drink that wine lovers will enjoy is Madeira wine, a fortified wine hailing from the Madeira islands. It’s only made here, using heat and aging to oxidize the wine. They range from dry to sweet, so there are different varieties for different purposes and times of the day. Looking for wine to accompany your dessert? Go with a sweet or medium sweet. Dryer varieties are more ideal for just enjoying a drink at a bar or for casual sipping.
Port wine is famous around the world, a treasure that comes from the Duoro Valley in northern Portugal. Most of the time, port is considered to be a dessert wine for its usually sweet taste and more viscous consistency. However, if you’re visiting northern Portugal, especially Porto, take advantage of the fact that you have so many good varieties of port wine to try, right from the source. Don’t limit yourself to drinking port only at dessert! Wine lovers around the world visit northern Portugal just to sample the abundance of delicious port wines available. And if you join Food Lover Tour on a gastronomic adventure, you’ll be sure to try some of the best local wines around!