Gin and Tonic has certainly become the Highball of the past decade. It has developed from a proto-British classic to a worldwide favorite of connoisseurs, party-goers and occasional drinkers alike. A lesser-known alternative in many European countries is the Portonic. A drink that is absolutely worth a try!
Portonic or Portotonic is very popular in Portugal, where you can find this drink in a lot of restaurants and on many bar menus. In the meantime the Portonic also started to gain a certain popularity in many bars outside the Iberian country. However, the great breakthrough has been denied to the drink until the present day. So it is high time to contribute a little to its spreading.
So what is it exactly? First of all it is – surprise – port wine mixed with tonic. Port wine is a fortified wine (therefore enhanced with brandy) and thus reaches higher alcohol content while retaining a more intensive sweetness from the grapes. It is available in various basic forms, which differ mainly in color. When it comes to Portonic, neither the famous Tawny Port nor the Ruby Port is used but the White Port. A style of port wine that exists in different, descending degrees of sweetness: Muito Doce, Doce, Meio Seco, Seco and Extra Seco.
Since the more dry White Ports still maintain a fairly aromatic sweetness, their usage is recommended for the combination with tonic. Nonetheless, the right composition can be – as with the Gin and Tonic in its various combinations – hardly given by a default recipe, so everyone will have to experience her or his own favorite combination. For the Portonic in the picture I have used the Churchill Dry White Port and combined it with the new, extra dry “Dry Tonic Water” from the market leader Schweppes. An excellent mixture, I think. Whether you want to add mint or even lime, as it is featured in some recipes, you have to decide for yourself. I really like mint in my Portonic but avoid lime at all cost.
1 part White Port
2 parts Tonic Water
2 small twigs of mint
Preparation: Clap the mint briefly between your palms to release the aromatic oils and put them in your glass filled with ice cubes. Add White Port and tonic water and gently stir with a bar spoon.
Glass: Wine glass or highball
Garnish: none (alternatively do not add the mint directly into the drink, but use it as a garnish)
Buying sources: White Port can be found in specialist shops, well-stocked supermarkets or simply online – depending on the desired type and brand. The same goes for Tonic Water. I like to buy my fresh mint in Turkish supermarkets.