12 Popular Portuguese drinks you need to try out when visiting Portugal!
Ever wondered what Portugal has to offer by way of Portuguese drinks?
Portuguese cuisine is more often than not at the forefront when discussing things to try out when visiting Portugal, but surprisingly, Portuguese spirits and drinks don’t get much of a mention at all.
That’s why I decided to switch things up today and post this article, based on the different types of Portugal drinks that you simply have to give a try when travelling to this beautiful country!
Following is my top recommendations of the most popular Portuguese alcoholic drinks!
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1. Port Wine
Known and loved the world over, and first up on our list of Portuguese drinks, is the famous fortified Port Wine from the northern region of the country, located in and around Porto.
Port Wines have become somewhat synonymous with Porto given that most Port Houses are located there, along the riverfront in Gaia. A port wine tasting is one of the top things to do whilst visiting Porto!
Granted, Port wine’s strong and bold flavours may not suit every pallet but thankfully there is a variety of different types to choose from. These include the Ruby Port with varieties such as the Reserve or Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) type, the Tawny variety, the Rosé port as well as a White Port too.
Whilst Port can and should most definitely be enjoyed on its own, you shouldn’t discount mixing it up a bit. One of my favourite drinks with Port is a Porto Tonico, a mixture of white port and tonic, simply delicious!
2. Vinho Verde Wine (Green Wine Portugal)
On our first visit to Portugal, we were first surprised and then delighted to have discovered Vinho Verde wine (or Portuguese Green Wine), having never heard of it before.
Hailing from the northern region of Minho in Portugal, the Vinho Verde wines are usually light, fresh and may even be of a sparkling variety. The name, although translated directly means “green wine” actually refers to the wines being produced sooner after harvest, around 3 – 6 months after harvest.
Although the white variety is probably the best known, you do also get a rosé and red Vinho Verde version too.
We absolutely love a cold, crisp glass of Vinho Verde, especially during the hot Portuguese summer months and you should definitely give it a try when visiting Portugal next.
3. Portuguese Wines
Keeping on trend with wines, it is no secret that Portugal’s wine production has garnered worldwide acclaim with Portugal producing some of the finest wines.
Wine production is also not limited to just one area of the country, in fact, most regions produce exceptional varieties of both red and white wines, each one uniquely different from the other.
Whilst most travellers have most likely already heard of Portugal’s most famous wine region, the Douro Valley, wine aficionados shouldn’t rule out the other wine-producing regions.
Wines from Alentejo, Dão, Tejo, Lisbon, Setubal and even the Algarve are all excellent and the country boasts over 250 native grape varieties.
So, when you exploring the length and breadth of gorgeous Portugal, be sure to try out some local wine varieties to get a true sense of Portugal’s diverse and top-quality wines.
4. Moscatel de Setubal
The fortified sweet Moscatel de Setubal wine, made from Muscat grapes, is a lovely rich Portuguese dessert wine that is cultivated in the Setubal Peninsula, around an hour south of Lisbon.
Although it is sweet, Moscatel isn’t too strong or overbearing and if served slightly chilled, it is a perfect dessert wine that goes really well with fruits, citrusy desserts or even creamy cheeses.
Even though Setubal is best known for its Moscatel, the Douro region also does produce its own variety too.
5. Portuguese Beer
Almost every country you travel to is likely to have its own native beer brand, and Portugal is no different. Portuguese beer (or Cerveja, the name for beer in Portuguese) is the choice of a popular drink and also more often than not, cheaper than most other drinks.
The two most popular Portuguese beer brands include the Sagres beer, from the south, and the Super Bock beer from the north. On the islands, you will also find the Azores beer, Especial, and the Madeira beer, Coral.
In recent years, Portugal has also experienced a surge in craft-beer production with varieties sold in bars and restaurants throughout the country too.
If you’d like to order a beer in Portuguese then you’d ask for ‘uma Caneca’ for a 500cl beer or if you prefer a smaller version then it’d be ‘uma Imperial’. Take note though, Imperial is not a term used in Porto, there you would ask for ‘um fino’.
6. Ginjinha cherry liqueur
Next up on our list is one of the most well-known Portuguese liqueurs, the Ginjinha, or simply Ginja for short. The Ginja cherry liqueur is made from sour cherries, the Morello cherry to be exact, and is often served as a shot in a chocolate cup.
Ginjinha is definitely one of the drinks in Portugal that you have to give a try. It’s very popular in areas such as Lisbon or even in the medieval walled city of Óbidos, an hour from Lisbon, where it is referred to as Ginjinha de Óbidos.
7. Licor Beirão
Licor Beirão, or simply Beirão for short, is yet another Portugal drink that you absolutely have to try when visiting the country.
This Portuguese alcohol hails from the Beira region but is widely available throughout the country in just about every bar or restaurant. It is said to be the most consumed spirit in all of Portugal.
This double distilled drink is made from a variety of different aromatic plants, seeds and herbs, giving it a sweet and herbal flavour. It’s worth pointing out that the exact recipe is somewhat of a mystery as it’s a closely guarded trade secret.
Served either neat or as part of a cocktail, you have to give Beirão a try.
8. Portuguese Almond Liqueur: Amarguinha
Amarguinha liqueur is yet another of the traditional Portuguese drinks that are definitely worth giving a go when travelling to Portugal.
This Portuguese Almond liqueur is made from first-grade almonds sourced in the Algarve region in southern Portugal. This light, mildly flavoured liqueur is excellent as a digestive, perhaps even suited to enjoying with a dessert after a lovely Portuguese meal!
9. Portuguese Anise Liqueur
Yet another popular Portuguese liqueur is the Anise liqueur, usually made from aniseed. This colourless liqueur is popular across many Mediterranean countries too!
With a distinct liquorice taste, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Anise liqueur can be served neat but is also often used as a mix in Portuguese cocktails too.
10. Aguardente de Medronhos
A typical Portuguese liquor that’s bound to give you a good kick, is Aguardente de Medronhos (or just Medronhos for short).
This Portuguese spirit, that is made from Medronhos berries (strawberries), definitely packs a punch as the usual supermarket brands usually have a fairly high alcohol level, at around 40%.
Also known as Portuguese firewater, this particular Portuguese drink is often also made at home, in which case the alcohol levels may even be higher!
Medronho is often drunk as a shot after dinner.
11. Portuguese Gins
Not necessarily regarded as the most traditional Portuguese alcoholic drinks, Gin may seem an odd addition to my list of Portuguese drinks.
In recent years Gin has become increasingly popular throughout Portugal and Portuguese gin production is definitely on the up and up and gaining international acclaim too.
Some of the most well-known Portuguese gin brands include Big Gin Boss (one of Portugal’s first premium gins), Sharish Gin, Gin 13, Templus and Tinto to name but a few.
FYI, if like me, you love Gin, then why not give making Gin at home a try (well, rather infusing Gins, since distilling at home would be considered illegal). This guide on how to do exactly that is packed with awesome ideas to take your Gin drinking to the next level!
12. Poncha da Madeira
Last but not least, we head to the Island of Madeira for our next Portuguese drink, Madeira’s traditional alcoholic drink called Poncha.
This is one of my favourite Portuguese cocktails that is made from sugar cane rum, honey and orange juice (or in some cases with lemon juice or passion fruit).
It’s definitely delicious, but also strong, so be warned!
As far as Portuguese alcohol and drinks goes, there’s a wide variety to choose from, suited to every taste and preference.
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to give these a try on your next visit to Portugal!