The Algarve

Drink Like a Local in Algarve

19 Mar 2020
When in Rome, do as the Romans. When in the Algarve, order the fire water. This might not be one of the more well-known phrases in international lexicon, but we’re here to change that. A night out in the towns and villages of the Algarve is an experience and a half, one that should be enjoyed via local produce and local concoctions alone. These are the ones to look out for.

Medronho

You must try Medronho © Daniel / Flickr.com CC license
We don’t recommend starting your night with the so-called ‘fire water’, but the brave/foolish among you may see that as a good idea. An old favourite of the fishermen — likely because of the 48% alcohol level — Medronho is named after the fruit tree from which it comes and it has quite the kick (hence the name), but it’ll certainly do the job when it comes to digestion. Yes, digestion.

Aguardiente

High in alcohol content and even higher in its ability to put hairs on your chest © Hugo Pardo Kuklinski / Flickr.com CC license
High in alcohol content and even higher in its ability to put hairs on your chest, keep an eye out for Aguardiente in the restaurants and bars of the Algarve. It is sort of a catch all term for any super strong alcohol but largely refers to brandy, the sort that will imprint itself on your throat and mind forever. In a good way, of course.

Sagres Cerveja

Sagres beer goes great with anything © Fredrik Rubensson / Flickr.com CC license
The presence of a little town called Sagres is a little bit of a misnomer these days, as this beer is produced by Heineken not far from Lisbon. Still, this is the national beer and as such should be chosen ahead of foreign options, and the name does indeed doff its cap to Sagres the town. It was the first beer to be exported, making the most of Portugal’s willingness to set sail and explore the globe.

Ginjinha

Ginjinha © Frances Ellen / Flickr.com CC license
An absolute must for anyone visiting Portugal for the first time is Ginjinha, a powerful liquor made from splendid sweet cherries. The story goes that it was first made by a friar in Lisbon and quickly spread, such was its quality, and it wasn’t long before it became one of the staple booze options of the country. You can actually get it served in a chocolate cup, which is a bit unorthodox to say the least.

Port

Types of Port wine © Wiki Commons / Wiki-portwine
You’re in Portugal, you’re going to drink port. It is just one of those great inevitabilities of life, alongside death and taxes. Port is generally available in ruby, white and tawny varieties and goes down particularly well after a meal, although show us an alcoholic drink that doesn’t.

How To Say ‘Cheers’?

And before we go, the most important part of it all. How to say ‘cheers’ in Portuguese? Simple — ‘saúde’ will do the trick. The vague pronunciation is ‘sa-ood’, but you’ll find regional varieties all over the Algarve. Happy boozing!

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