Artisanal ginja liqueur made from sour cherries from the Óbidos region – that is the first promise this shop makes when one enters. It features on a notice next to a smaller handwritten one, which says that the shop stocks Eduardino, the famous liqueur that was born in a neighbouring ginjinha house – Sem Rival. And the ginja houses in this part of town really are without rival (sem Rival), so much so that they can sell each other’s liqueurs. In this establishment there are no stories about clowns (see Ginjinha Sem Rival), but there others that are just as funny, or tragic, inspiring and curious. They come from regular customers who, emboldened by the strong liqueur – or by the fact that they have a place in their neighbourhood where there will always be familiar faces, and they themselves will always be recognised – keep the convivial atmosphere alive. Whether funny or more bucolic, the stories cover the walls, eternalised in the azulejo tiles. Here and there one sees jugs bearing the word “RUBI”. These were the predecessors of the shop’s current bottles, which are now labelled to distinguish them from others, given that the brand is not only served here but in other ginjinha places in Lisbon, such as Ginginha do Carmo. The drink is produced in nearby Arroios.
But do try to pay attention to a few things. If you do begin to see double we have a good idea why; but if you begin to see discrepancies in certain dates, then we can’t be sure if that is because of the drink or some other mysterious factor. Whilst the tiles say the shop was founded in January 1931, the stained glass claims it was in 1935. Maybe it had two, or more, official openings, just to have a good reason for another round and another toast. But whether it was in ’31 or ’35, the result is always the same: the invisible triangle formed by Sem Rival, Espinheira and Rubi on the map has existed for many decades. A kind of liquid Devil’s Triangle, a place one enters and never comes out of totally… untouched.
Ginja liqueur and other drinks; snacks