Licor Beirão

Discover fascinating facts about Portugal’s best-known sweet herbal liquor

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine September 2015


  • Originally, Licor Beirão was produced as a medicine. In the 19th century, a pharmacy in Lousã (in the district of Coimbra) claimed it was the antidote against stomach aches. Some decades later, when alcoholic beverages were no longer qualified as medicinal, the liquor was kept in production in a small factory.
  • The amber coloured drink was entered into a contest in 1929 where it won a gold medal and got named Beirão, meaning ‘from Beira’, after the region the competition was held in. In the 1940s, the late José Carranca Redondo bought the factory and turned the drink into a national success story (currently, the factory produces around 4 million bottles a year).


  • Sorry, that’s a family secret. The recipe of Licor Beirão is closely guarded. The producers only reveal it’s made from a double distillation of aromatic plants, seeds and herbs, some of them which are grown locally in Lousã where the liquor is produced.
  • Prepare to travel if you want to create your own version of Licor Beirão as the remaining ingredients used in the drink come from countries all over the world, including India, Brazil and Sri Lanka.

Portuguese Jägermeister?

  • Some people claim it’s the Portuguese version of Jägermeister, a German digestif made of 56 herbs and spices and 35% ABV (alcohol by volume).
  • Although the drinks are somewhat similar, Licor Beirão has 22% ABV (and tastes way better!). It’s unsure exactly how many different herbs and spices are used to make the liquor, but rumours say there’re 12, including coriander, mint leaves, oregano, aniseed, eucalyptus, cinnamon and rosemary.


  • Although Licor Beirão is originally drunk on the rocks (meaning: pure with only some ice cubes to chill it), it’s also possible to turn it into a cocktail, add it to your coffee or even use it in a seafood soup. You’ll find plenty of recipes on the website:
  • To make a spicy bitter-sweet ginger cocktail, mix 3 slices of slightly crushed fresh ginger with 5 tablespoons of Licor Beirão in a long drink glass. Top up with tonic water, add some ice cubes and enjoy!


  • Want to win one of the five Licor Beirão gift cases? These gift cases (with information in Portuguese, English and French) each consist of a 70cl Licor Beirão bottle plus two glasses. There’s also some chalk inside so you can personalise the box and offer it to someone special.
  • How to win? Simple, subscribe to Enjoy the Algarve, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and let us know why you should win Portugal’s best-known liquor by sending an email to The five lucky winners with the most original reasons will be notified and will receive a gift case by post. This competition ends on 30 September 2015.


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine September 2015

Posted in Food, Typical Portugal.

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