Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the first of the month and that means I’m sharing with you one more thing that makes me happy. This month: Portuguese liqueurs. I’ve briefly touched on these before but always felt they deserve a dedicated post, simply because I love them so much. For some inexplicable reason, I buy liqueurs but they mysteriously disappear soon afterwards, and therefore, I’m unable to share them with guests. (I suspect I have alcoholic mice at home that drink them while I sleep!) So in an effort to incorporate them in my life (and my friends’ lives) more regularly, I went on the hunt for some Portuguese licores.
For the purposes of keeping this post somewhat concise, I’m excluding the traditional Ginja liqueur (which is made of sour cherries) and focusing on other types. I first tried these liqueurs ages ago when I visited the Azores. Because of this, and because the Azorean liqueurs are so typical and so delicious, I always tended to associate them with those islands. But, with time, I came to realize that there are some very tasty liqueurs from continental Portugal, which is fabulous news for me and anyone else on the mainland!
Traditionally, people made liqueurs out of plants (think tea leaves and pennyroyal) and berries (think blackberries, strawberries and strawberry tree) at home. But the process takes months for the liqueur to be ready. Fortunately for those of you with little patience, there are plenty of brands nowadays that make and bottle licores, and leave the fun part – the drinking – for you.
I was already familiar with a few brands, but Adega Rural was new to me. So, as per my resolution to surround myself with things that make me happy, I bought two bottles of their liqueurs. The problem was, of course, how to choose between all the flavors – which I had to do, because I couldn’t carry them all. I sampled a few and ended up buying blackberry (amora) and blueberry (mirtilo). The former has always been one of my favorites; the latter I sampled that day for the first time and was surprised by how delicious it was. Apparently it’s a best seller for the brand. Despite its intense royal blue color (which is natural), it’s surprisingly smooth and just the right amount of sweet.
Just remember: these liqueurs are meant to be sipped and slowly savored, because they’re pretty thick and very sweet. They’re a perfect end to a meal to sweeten your palate, or as a nightcap. I’m no doctor but I bet they’re good for you, too. They’re made of fruit, after all…