The Galician “queimada”, which literally means “burnt”, is an alcoholic drink based on brandy which, along with other ingredients, is literally burnt and cooked to be consumed hot. However, before handing it out and drinking it, the incantation has to be recited that turns this simple drink into an eye-catching ritual. It is a traditional Galician show based on fire, alcohol and poetry, typical in festivals and celebrations. Surely you are familiar with it, and in this article we will delve into its history, ingredients, preparation and meaning.
Regarding its origins, they are a bit uncertain. Popularly, and depending on its cultural components, different origins can be attributed to it: Celtic, due to the poetic element of the incantation; perhaps Germanic, given the taste for collective drunkenness and the taste for hot and burning alcohol; perhaps Arab, due to the use of sugar and distilled spirits. Carlos Alonso del Real, professor of Prehistory at the University of Santiago de Compostela, already considered these elements in a 1972 article published in the magazine “…”. Grail “but states that Until the introduction of the alembic (of Arab origin) between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as well as cane sugar (also of Arab origin), this drink would not exist. Thus, the origin of the drink would be, at least in the late Middle Ages.