Visiting Portugal should be on the bucket list for any traveler looking for sun, beautiful architecture, and incredible history. Located west of Spain, this wonderful country is also home to some delicious and unique drinks. Portugal is one of our favorite countries to visit for food and drink. So we put together our list of these traditional Portuguese drinks to try when you visit.
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What To Drink In Portugal
Portugal is a relatively small country with a varied climate throughout the year. In Lisbon and the south, the weather is warm and often quite hot in the summer. As a result, Portuguese drinks are designed to refresh and replenish and are often high in sugar to counteract sweaty outdoor activities.
In Porto, and Northern Portugal summers can get hot, but winters are cold and wet. This means that fortified wines can warm up the evening.
Portugal is famous for its wine, however, Portuguese beer brands aren’t as well known as they should be! From mass-produced Portuguese beers to locally produced craft beer, there are loads of options.
Due to the warm climate and nutrient-rich soils, Portuguese liquor is very sweet, high in alcohol, and pairs perfectly with tropical fruit juices like pineapple and mango.
Many Portuguese locals will add drops of zesty citrus like lemon or grapefruit to their drinks to cut through the sugary taste.
Learn more about what to drink in Portugal:
16 Must-Try Portuguese Drinks
While you’re in Portugal, beer and wine aren’t the only things on the to-try list! Here are 15 must-try Portuguese drinks for your visit. Some of these are uniquely Portuguese beverages.
Ginjinha – Sour Cherry Liquor
You may have seen this Portuguese liquor also sold as ‘ginja’ or ‘ginia’ in grocery stores. A favorite among tourists and locals alike, this sweet and sour Portuguese drink is drunk as a shot before or after a meal. The sweet and sour flavor comes from the sour cherries that are used to make the drink, and are often served inside.
Ginjinha is one of my favorite alcoholic drinks, particularly when we are in Lisbon. In fact, there are entire establishments in Lisbon and Port that only sell ginjinha! Some of them will even serve ginjinha in edible chocolate cups for a truly decadent take on this Portuguese alcohol.
So choose whether you have additional cherries put into your aperitif, or simply take the tasty Portuguese beverage as is.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you have some tasty Portuguese food in your system before drinking ginjinha, it does pack a punch. And, it’s a bit of a surprise because it goes down so easy!
Just because Portugal doesn’t grow coffee doesn’t mean they don’t make a fantastic brew! The only place in Portugal where coffee beans are grown are in a small sliver of an island in the Azores.
This most popular drink of Portugal combines the best of Arabica and Robusta beans and slow roasts them, for a creamy, almost sweet beverage that will satisfy the die-hard caffeine addicts amongst you.
Our favorite Portuguese coffee is called the pingado, which is a shot of espresso with a small bit of warmed milk. It’s similar to the Italian coffee called macchiato. It’s available at cafes across the country, including some of our favorite Lisbon cafes.
Simply known as Beirão, this national drink of Portugal is one you don’t want to miss! Possibly the most popular Portuguese liqueur on the market, this drink originated in the Beiras region and is an excellent option for those with a sweet tooth.
Hints of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and lavender work together to create a unique flavor experience that is best enjoyed with plenty of ice. Beirão is also used in many popular Portuguese cocktails, such as Caipirão, or to boost other drinks like sangria with sweetness, alcohol content, and a distinctive aroma that will make your mouth water.
If you’ve seen the jokes, you’ll know that ‘ananas’ is the word for pineapple in most other languages. Sumol Ananás is one of the most popular non-alcoholic Portuguese drinks.
The name comes from a combination of the words ‘sumo’, meaning juice, and ‘sol,’ meaning sun. This fizzy soda has been around since the 1950s and is a favorite of adults and children alike.
Like France’s champagne, fortified wine is only considered port if the grapes are grown in the Douro Valley region in northern Portugal. Home to the world’s oldest demarcated wine region, Portugal has been creating unique and delicious fortified wine for over 2,000 years.
Known around the world for its sweet and rich flavor, port wine is easily the most famous of the fortified wines from Portugal. Most people think of port as one of the most popular dessert wines. But, when we are in Porto, we drink it throughout the day. This includes before a meal, or as a cocktail.
White Port And Porto Tonics
When thinking about the sweet wines of Portugal, most people assume that port wine only comes in a dark or ruby red color. Some of the most popular versions include tawny and ruby port wines. But, white port, and even rose port, is becoming a lot more popular.
Particularly in the summer months, expect white port cocktails including the Porto tonic, with a fresh spring of mint. Perfect on a hot summer day.
With port wine on this list, don’t forget about Madeira wine! Produced only on the Atlantic islands of Madeira, this protected Portuguese alcohol comes in many different styles, alcohol contents, and flavors. Most varieties are a sweet wine, similar to port.
Like port wine, Madeira wine is typically very sweet and is intended to be served as a dessert wine. However, be careful when purchasing this Portuguese drink – many recipes call for Madeira wine as a flavor booster, and cooking wine is much lower quality than drinking wine. So splash the cash and get a high-quality Madeira wine for the best enjoyment.
The second most famous Portuguese liquor to come out of Madeira, poncha is a must-try for anyone who loves a tipple!
This delicious drink from Portugal is made from Madeira rum, then sweetened with sugar or honey and flavored with citrus juice for a zesty finish. Deceptively sweet and oh-so-tasty, poncha drink is perfect served with ice on a hot summer’s day.
Portuguese people love their coffee and have many unique ways of fitting it into their day. Originating in Algeria, mazagran is a tasty iced coffee drink infused with lemon or sometimes grapefruit for a zesty, refreshing treat in warmer weather.
Poured over plenty of ice, this delicious beverage is served in cafes and restaurants around Portugal.
A popular variation on this Portuguese drink is to add rum or Portugese brandy to add a little spice to the proceedings. Make sure you don’t overindulge and enjoy this delicious beverage in moderation under the warm sun!
Rather than referring to one specific drink, aguardiente (meaning ‘fire water’) is a collective name for any drinks in Portugal containing around 50 percent alcohol. Traditionally distilled from wine, aguardiente can also be made using sugar cane, fruits, or even coffee beans!
Many traditional establishments will have a proprietary version of this popular Portuguese drink and add it to coffees or juices for a little extra ‘scent.’
This Portuguese liquor is also used as a digestive to go with your meal, so many cafes will serve heavy dishes with a small shot on the side.
Portuguese Craft Beer
We’ve been super impressed with how the Lisbon craft beer scene is exploding and even throughout Portugal. Similar to neighboring Spain, which has also had its own renaissance in small producers. Particularly in Lisbon, there are multiple craft beer producers and bars – all worth a visit.
While you may associate sangria with the neighboring country of Spain, this wine punch is also considered one of the national drinks of Portugal! So strong is the sentiment about this traditional punch, the EU has declared that only these two nations can name their product sangria.
Sangria is a deliciously refreshing drink in the warmer summer months consisting of red port wine, chopped fruits, and fruit juice.
Every establishment will have its own variety of this drink from Portugal – you’ll find this popular Portuguese drink at bars, restaurants, and festivals across the country. Some modern hospitality venues will even serve a version with white or sparkling wine for a unique take on a classic recipe.
If you love almonds and marzipan, you have to try amarguinha. Derived from an ancient recipe for almond liqueur, this drink from Portugal is a popular addition to cocktails, hot chocolates, and coffees worldwide.
With a uniquely nutty and bitter flavor, amarguinha is made using almonds from the Algarve region of south Portugal and is a favorite with locals for desserts and aperitifs.
You may struggle to find this traditional Portuguese drink these days, but trust us – it’s worth the effort! Known as capillaire in English, this zesty cordial dates back to the 18th century, and was a favorite during the summer.
Made from a tasty blend of maidenhair leaves, orange blossom, and lemon zest, the result is a refreshing, semi-sweet drink perfect after a hard day exploring.
Your best chance of finding this drink in Portugal is in Lisbon. Visit the downtown summer markets, and look for large vats filled to the brim with ice.
The scent of capilé is incredibly distinctive, and it is the perfect accompaniment to traditional Portuguese fare like frango no churrasco and Cabidela rice.
Tea may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Portugal, but Azorean tea is a delicious caffeine hit for anyone who doesn’t like coffee! There are two types of tea grown in Portugal, and both are equally tasty.
Black tea comes in Orange Pekoe, Pekoe, and Broken Leaf varieties, and its high tannin content means that it is pungent and somewhat bitter.
Portuguese locals will often add honey or milk to balance out the tart flavors, and it is a standard Portuguese breakfast beverage in areas like Algarve and Porto.
Hailed for its antioxidant properties, green tea from the Azores is similar to the variety found in Southeast Asia. With a light and refreshing flavor, this Portuguese drink is often served chilled with slices of lemon during summer.
Vinho Verde Wines
You may think that there are already so many kinds of wine on this list – however, we have to mention vinho verde! While the name translates directly as ‘green wine,’ vinho verde actually refers to wine made in the Vinho Verde region in Portugal’s north.
The most common form of this Portuguese drink is white wine, but you’ll also come across reds, rosés or even sparkling varieties!
One of the most significant differences between vinho verde and other wines is its texture – often zesty with a creamy mouthfeel, chilled vinho verde is slightly fizzy, and perfectly refreshing in the summer. It’s one of my favorite traditional Portuguese wines to drink when traveling in Portugal.
Portuguese Drinks For All Occasions
Central to holidays, festivals, and other celebrations, one of the best ways to experience the culture during your visit is to try Portuguese drinks!
Whether you pick one up at a convenience store or freshly made in a summer market, drinks in Portugal are guaranteed to be delicious and absolutely unforgettable.
We understand that Portugal is an underrated European destination. Most people don’t know much about drinks from Portugal other than Port wine. We think the small country is definitely worth a visit for any drink traveler.
FAQs – Portuguese Drinks
Always a difficult question to answer of any country. Portugal produces a wide range of great drinks that could be called the national drink of Portugal. It’s one of the best wine-producing countries in the world. It has some better-than-average beers. But of them all, ginjinha is without a doubt the national drink of Portugal.
It’s right there in the name, Port Wine. Porto is famous around the world as the home of Port Wine. The city was built around the storing, aging, and shipping of port wine. Today, this is still the case and one of the best things to experience when in Porto.