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Portuguese Drinks


Wine is the oldest known drink after water! The Portuguese enjoy their wine and have a good selection which are inexpensive and delicious. Try a Vinho Verde which means “green wine”, green meaning new. Don’t forget there is a red vinho verde, the only red wine you can serve chilled. Other wines to look out for are Dão, Bairrada and Regengos, the latter heading a long list of tasty and popular wines from the Alentejo region.

Tavira has a small shop called Vital situated opposite the old market on the front near the river, they are wine specialists with a wide range to chose from.

Language of the Wine label

QuintaEstate, “chateau”
AdegaWine-cellar, wine making establishment
ColheitaYear, vintage
Regiao demarcadaStatutorily defined wine-producing region
Denominacao de origem“Appellation controlee”
ReservaReserve (wine of better quality)
Garrafeira“Private cellar” (i.e. best quality)
Vinho verde“Green” (i.e. young) wines: a regional designation for the very light red and white wines produced in the Minho province
Vinho de mesaTable wine
Vinho de consumoOrdinary drinking wine
MaduroOld, matured wine
Engarrafado na origemBottled by the producer
Doce, adamadoSweet

Wines to look out for

Portugal produces a considerable variety of Wines that are not exported outside the producing region. All you really need to do is tell the waiter you want red (tinto) or white (branco) and you can’t go wrong. If the choice of red or white isn’t broad enough, you can order pink (rose) or green (verde)!

Tinto and BrancoRed and White wines
BairradaComes from the region between Coimbra and Aveiro
DãoThese wines come from the region in the Coimbra, Viseu and Guarda area around the River Dao. Tasting a little like burgundy, they are produced mainly by local co-operatives.
ColaresInteresting wines from the small region of Colares (near to Sintra in the Lisbon area)
BucelasCrisp white wines produced in the Estremadura area.
ReguengosProduced in the Alentejo area
LagoaLocally produced in Lagoa – very potent!
Mateus RoseUndoubtedly one of the most famous wines from here!
Vinho Verde(Green wine) This is a light slightly sparkling wine that is produced in quantity, in the Minho area. They are drunk early and do not mature or improve with age and are great with meals, especially shellfish. There are red and rose “vinho verdes” though the white is more successful. Look out for Casal Garcia, Gazella and Quinta da Aveleda.
Vinho do Porto(Port wine) Port – the famous fortified wine – is produced from grapes grown in the valley of the Douro and stored in hugh wine lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia, a riverside suburb of Porto. Do try a dry white port as an aperitif.
Vinho da MadeiraMadeira wine Madeira wine has been exported to Britain since Shakespeare’s time – it was Falstaff’s favourite tipple, known then as “sack”. Madeira wine comes in three main varieties: Sercial - a dry aperitif, Verdelho - a sweeter aperitif, Bual or Malmsey - sweet, heavy desert wines

Portuguese Liquors

Any label marked Aguardente is definitely for the very brave! A good drink on a cold day but make sure lighted matches are well out of reach! Like wise for Figo and Midronho

A popular liquor made from almonds. Try with crushed ice and fresh lemon

Good local brands. Look out for Maciera 5 Star

Mixture of honey and brandy – wonderful! (purely medicinal of course.)

Portuguese white brandy

Fernet Branca
An excellent remedy for the morning after and upset tummies, taken sparingly with an unforgettable taste!

A Portuguese coffee liquor similar to Tia Maria

Portuguese version of the orange liquor Cointreau


The most common Portuguese beers (cerveja) are Sagres and Super Bock.

For something unusual (and not recommended on a hot afternoon) try Sagres Preta, which is a dark beer, resembling British brown ale.


Café com leite - - like an English milky coffee but stronger
Galão - coffee with lots of hot milk served in a tall glass
Bica - short, strong coffee like an espresso
Bica Pingada - short, strong coffee with a dash of milk


Tea (cha) is usually weak, com leite is with milk, and com limao with lemon.


Mineral water is available almost anywhere and is either still (sem gas) or carbonated (com gas).Cold (frio) or room temperature (Naturale)

Soft Drinks

In the Algarve there is a wide range of still and fizzy soft drinks. For children, try the Trina range which a still fruity drink or Sumol which has a pleasant range of thick juices, still and fizzy fruit drinks. Chocolate milk (leite chocolate) is nice served cold or heated.

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