Queimada: A Typical Drink From Galicia With a Spell
Queimada is a traditional ritual practiced in Galicia, Spain to keep demons and bad spirits away through chanting a magical spell and preparing a brew made of a liquor/brandy called Orujo. The origins of this ritual are unknown, though some theories say that it was either a vestige of Celtic tribes or it was developed in the 1950s as a way of attracting tourists. The Queimada is performed at parties, family events, or at specific bars and restaurants.
The beverage unites the Three Elements and is prepared in a glazed clay pot which represents Earth, Orujo liquor represents Water, and the burning of the liquor stands for the third element, Fire. The final touch is to lift the ladle several times while chanting the spell.
The spell goes like this (short version):
Owls, toads and witches;
Demons, elfs and devils;
spirits of the foggy meadows;
crows, salamanders and sorcerers;
listen, listen to the roaring!
The witches are purifying themselves
with these spiritual flames
and when this delicious beverage
goes down our throats
we will all be free
from the evil of our souls.
Now let’s get to the preparation process:
- 1 liter of orujo (you can use any grape based liquor if Orujo is not available)
- 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 lemon rind
- 1/4 cup of whole coffee beans
The Recipe For A Great Queimada
Place the clay pot or bowl on a fireproof surface with all the ingredients. Now, here comes the tricky part, at least for me: pour approximately 3 Tbsp of orujo and 1 Tbsp of sugar in a glass or one of the clay cups used to serve the queimada and stir to dissolve the sugar, pour it into the ladle and light it on fire. For me, this is the most difficult part as you need to have the right amount of liquid and sugar. Carefully move the ladle over the clay pot until the mixture in the pot catches fire.
Word of Caution: If you follow all the steps above it is very unlikely that you set your house on fire. However, Orujo has a high alcohol content of over 50% (100° proof) so be careful!