Galicia, a region in the northwest of Spain, is known for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and, of course, its gastronomy. Among the many culinary delights that Galicia has to offer, one dish stands out for its unique preparation and captivating tradition: queimada receta. In this article, we will explore the origins, ingredients, preparation, and cultural significance of queimada receta, as well as provide insights into how you can recreate this delightful beverage in your own home.

The Origins of Queimada Receta

Queimada receta, also known simply as queimada, is a traditional Galician beverage with roots that date back centuries. The word “queimada” comes from the Galician verb “queimar,” which means “to burn.” This name is derived from the preparation method of the drink, which involves setting it on fire.

Legend has it that queimada receta was originally created by Galician witches as a potion to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that the flames and incantations performed during the preparation process would protect those who consumed it from harm. Over time, queimada receta evolved from a mystical elixir to a beloved cultural tradition, often enjoyed during festivals, gatherings, and special occasions.

The Ingredients of Queimada Receta

Queimada receta is made from a combination of ingredients that give it a unique and distinct flavor. The main components of queimada receta include:

  • Orujo: Orujo is a traditional Galician spirit made from the distillation of grape skins, seeds, and stems. It serves as the base for queimada receta and provides its alcoholic content.
  • Sugar: Sugar is added to sweeten the drink and balance the strong flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Coffee beans: Coffee beans are often included in queimada receta to enhance its aroma and add a subtle hint of bitterness.
  • Lemon peel: Lemon peel is used to infuse queimada receta with a refreshing citrus flavor.
  • Herbs and spices: A variety of herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and anise, are added to queimada receta to create a complex and aromatic taste profile.

The Preparation of Queimada Receta

Preparing queimada receta is not only about mixing the ingredients but also about creating a captivating spectacle. The traditional preparation method involves the following steps:

  1. Gather the ingredients: Collect all the necessary ingredients, including orujo, sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel, and herbs and spices.
  2. Choose the right container: Queimada receta is traditionally prepared in a clay pot called a “queimadeira.” This vessel is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures and is often adorned with intricate designs.
  3. Add the ingredients: Pour the orujo into the queimadeira and add the sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel, and herbs and spices.
  4. Ignite the mixture: Carefully light a match and set the mixture on fire. As the flames dance, recite the traditional incantation known as the “conxuro” to ward off evil spirits.
  5. Stir and serve: Once the flames have extinguished, stir the mixture to ensure all the flavors are well combined. Serve queimada receta in small cups or glasses, often accompanied by traditional Galician pastries or desserts.

The Cultural Significance of Queimada Receta

Queimada receta is more than just a delicious beverage; it is a symbol of Galician identity and a celebration of tradition. The act of preparing and sharing queimada receta is deeply ingrained in Galician culture and is often accompanied by lively gatherings, music, and dance.

Queimada receta is particularly associated with the celebration of “Noite de San Xoán” (St. John’s Night) on June 23rd, the eve of the feast day of St. John the Baptist. During this magical night, bonfires are lit, and people gather on beaches and in public squares to enjoy the company of friends and family.

As the queimada receta is prepared and set on fire, the atmosphere becomes filled with excitement and anticipation. The incantation, recited in Galician, adds an air of mystery and enchantment to the experience. It is believed that the words spoken during the conxuro have the power to protect and bring good fortune to those present.

Recreating Queimada Receta at Home

If you’re intrigued by the allure of queimada receta and would like to recreate this traditional beverage in the comfort of your own home, here’s a simplified recipe to get you started:

  1. Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of orujo or a similar grape-based spirit
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of coffee beans
  • Peel of half a lemon
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cloves
  • A pinch of anise seeds
  1. Instructions:
  1. In a heat-resistant container, combine the orujo, sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves, and anise seeds.
  2. Using a long match or lighter, carefully ignite the mixture.
  3. As the flames burn, recite your own words or a traditional Galician incantation to add a touch of mystique.
  4. Allow the flames to extinguish naturally or carefully blow them out.
  5. Stir the mixture to ensure all the flavors are well combined.
  6. Serve queimada receta in small cups or glasses, and enjoy!


1. Is queimada receta only consumed during St. John’s Night?

No, queimada receta is enjoyed throughout the year in Galicia. While it is particularly associated with St. John’s Night, it can be prepared and enjoyed on other special occasions or simply as a delightful treat.</


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