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Queimada is a Galician drink made of a spirit named Orujo along with flavoring agents like coffee beans and lemon peel, and sugar. Orujo is a traditional Galician spirit that is prepared form the remnants left during wine production. An integral part of the drink making is a ritual in which the drink is set afire at the time of preparation, and is traditionally consumed in a late night gathering with the goal of warding off evil spirits. A spell is chanted during preparation, and the ceremony is considered to confer special power on the Queimada as well as on those consuming it.

History of Queimada Drink

Queimada was consumed by Galician soldiers during the Civil War in Spain. The drink was also prepared by Galician immigrants to Madrid and other places who were usually students and consumed the drink during group celebrations and events. It became quite popular in other places later on. In 1955 Tito Freire designed the pot in which this drink is ceremoniously prepared. The spell that is recited during preparation was written by Mariano Abalo a couple of years later.

The Queimada Recipe Ritual

The ritual takes place outside, where everyone gathers in the dark. All the ingredients suggested by the recipe are taken in a large terracotta bowl. One person takes some of the liquid in a long ladle and sets it afire, holding it up and pouring it into the pot containing the rest of the liquid, reciting the spell at the same time. The flames look beautiful against the dark of the night, and everybody gathers around it, holding their terracotta or ceramic cups and reciting the spell. The drink is served after the flames die out.

During students’ celebrations, a metal pan is often used instead of the pot to make the Queimada, and tea mugs are used instead of terracotta cups.

Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation: Queimada Recipe


§ Orujo Spirit: Orujo is a strong alcoholic liquer from Galicia in Spain, which contains 37 to 45 percent alcohol. It is drunk on its own or used as an ingredient. It is prepared by using the residue of grapes after they are crushed for preparing wine. This consists of grape seeds, stalks and skins, which are fermented in vats and distilled, using copper vessels and an open fire. The distilling process takes about 6 hours. Orujo when freshly prepared is colorless, while it is of amber color when aged, in which case the aging is done by storing it in wooden barrels.
§ Flavoring agents: Lemon peel and coffee beans (or ground coffee) are used for flavoring. Cinnamon may also be used in addition to these.
§ Sweetener: Sugar is used as a sweetener.

Method of Preparation:

Queimada is prepared by taking Orujo, coffee beans, lemon peel and sugar in a large terracotta bowl. A small amount of the liquid is taken in a ladle and set afire as per the preparation ritual, by using an elongated lighter. The flames are then taken to the rest of the liquid by means of the ladle, and the contents of the bowl are mixed till the sugar dissolves. The flames turn blue, and the spell is recited, after which, once the flames have gone off, the liquid is served in clay or ceramic cups. It is always prepared on non-inflammable rocky surfaces, particularly on dark nights, without any artificial lighting.

Serving Queimada Drink

Queimada is often served during parties, get-togethers and other celebrations. It is mostly enjoyed on dark nights, after everyone is done with dinner. Samhain or Celtic New Year Eve is traditionally considered the best time for its preparation. The preparation ritual is also popular on the night of 23rd June, which is known as ‘witch’s night’.

Health and Nutrition Facts Related to Queimada Recipe

Queimada is an alcoholic beverage that warms the body on cold days. Herbs and spices present in it are also beneficial for the body. Presence of coffee makes it a good stimulant and energizer, while lemon peel has a refreshing effect on the body. Use of sugar, however, adds extra calories to the drink.