Make Ahead

Sour Cherry Liqueur - Ginginha

December 10, 2009
Author Notes

Ginjinha is a Portuguese liqueur made by infusing sour cherries (Morello cherries) in Aguardente which is a Portuguese Brandy. Ginjinha is served in a small glass with a cherry inside and is a typical drink in Lisbon.
Making liqueurs is like a therapy – the maceration period, the recipe which each family has a tradition, bottling it with the new moon, stories that are passed down from generation to generation. But the greatest pleasure is when you bottle the liqueur after a few months and serve it although some bottles are a few years old. I think it's a really nice gift for Christmas, especially with your own label on it. —Maria Teresa Jorge

  • Serves 1 bottle
  • 2 cups sour cherries (Morello cherries)
  • 1 1/4 cups Aguardente (Portuguese Brandy) or Grappa
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cups brown sugar
In This Recipe
  1. Wash the cherries and leave some of the stems for taste. If you can't find sour cherries use normal black cherries a bit unripe.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, warm the red wine and add the sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a 4 cup container with a tight fitting lid add the cherries, the cooled wine and sugar, the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Add the White alcohol (either Aguardente or Grappa) and close the jar tightly.
  4. Let infuse 1 month in a dark place, giving it a shake every 3 or 4 days.
  5. Discard the cinnamon and the cloves, bottle the liqueur, adding a few cherries to each bottle and close the bottles with a good fitting cork. Serve in small glasses either as an aperitif or at the end of the meal. In summer you can serve it chilled.
  6. Will keep several years if you don't drink it meanwhile, which would be a pitty.

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