It’s cocktail time
Now that we have time the drinks-before-dinner ritual is back. We might not have any guest, but the cocktail hour can be celebrated in intimacy or in virtual meetings, in any way it will transport us. There is an undeniable liturgical feel, a sort of spiritual aura on that 60-minute of quietude.
And as we should be in Portugal right now, we could’t help making a Port Tonic, a refreshing cocktail in vogue all over Portugal, the low-alcohol version of the gin and tonic.
What is white port?
White port is a fortified wine (some spirit is added, aguardente, to stop the fermentation and keep some residual sugar) made from a blend of the noblest of the classic Douro white varieties: Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Rabigato, Códega, Bical… The grapes are grown in the Douro Valley and the wine is made and aged on Porto, more specifically at the other side of river in Vilanova de Gaia. The blend of grapes remains a secret in every winery. Practically unknown -red ports are the big players – white port is lighter in the mouth.
White Port is vinified like a tawny and aged for a year in huge oak tanks before further aging in “pipes” (550 liter oak casks) prior to bottling.
There are a few distinct styles of White Port depending on the level of sweetness – they can be either Extra Seco (extra dry), Seco (dry), Doce (sweet) and Lágrima (very sweet) – and the length of aging time.
Serving temperature recommended: 44.6º F – 48.2º F
It is a higher quality white Port and is obtained from the blend with an aging period in wood of, at least, seven years. It has a golden color and persistent flavor.
How to make a Port Tonic
Very simple, you just need 5 ingredients:
- White Port Wine (use a young white port and choose from extra dry to very sweet)
- Tonic Water
- 1 Lemon slice
- Sprig Mint
Fill a glass with ice, half to 3/4, add two parts of port and one part of good quality tonic. Add a nice slice of lemon and fresh mint. Stir, do not shake.