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Porto Tonico – Portugal’s Most Popular Cocktail

Drinking a Porto Tonico is popular in Portugal all year but especially during the warm summer months. Follow our easy white port tonic cocktail recipe and craft a Porto Tonico at home.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail on Lisbon Street
Image: ©2foodtrippers

Known as a Porto Tonico, white port tonic is a refreshing wine cocktail crafted with twice as much tonic as white port. With the optional addition of a sprig of mint and an orange wedge, the two main ingredients come together to create a refreshing port drink that rivals the world’s best summer sippers.

Though we first experienced the popular Portuguese cocktail in Porto during our honeymoon, we drink the summer sipper at Lisbon restaurants and bars now that we live in Portugal. We’ve even found Porto Tonicos at Lisbon’s Time Out Market.

Discover more summer cocktails that you can craft at home.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail and Tram
We don’t recommend drinking a white port cocktail while you ride the famous Lisbon Tram 28 due to potential spillage. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Usually, though, we craft and drink Port and Tonic cocktails at home. Not only is this port tonic cocktail refreshing to drink, but the popular Portuguese drink is also super simple to prepare. After all, it’s essentially a two-ingredient cocktail with benefits.

Discover our favorite things to eat and drink in Portugal as well as our top tips for eating in Portugal.

What Is White Port?

Making a White Port and Tonic Cocktail
Porto has several port houses including Ferreira. This particular port house has produced port since the 18th century. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Honeymooning in Porto solidified our passion for ruby and tawny port while introducing us to white port, a lighter version made with white grapes grown in the Douro Valley and fortified with brandy.

Sweet and not too high in alcohol (16.5-20% abv), white port makes for a satisfying after-dinner aperitif. It’s also a fun ingredient to add to Portuguese cocktails.

Port Tasting in Porto
We enjoyed drinking port during our honeymoon in 2007. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Winemakers around the world fortify wine with neutral grape spirits but only producers in Portugal’s Douro Valley can call the end result port. Located in the north of the country, this region has been a protected wine region since the 18th century.

Mindi Enjoys a White Port and Tonic Cocktail
We still enjoy drinking port today – especially when it’s in a white port tonic. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Name variations for port include Porto and Vinho do Porto. The Portuguese translation of white port is Porto Branca. No matter what you choose to call it, Portugal’s fortified wine is addictive to people like us who enjoy dessert wine and, in this case, tasty cocktails.

Discover the best desserts and pastries in Portugal.

What Are Porto Tonico Cocktails?

White Port and Tonic Cocktail on Ledge
We whipped this port cocktail drink up in just five minutes and then spent just as much time photographing it. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

In Portugal, people drink Porto Tonicos as an aperitif, similar to the way people in Italy drink Aperol Spritzes. However, in our opinion, the Portuguese cocktail tastes way better than its slightly bitter Italian counterpart.

Refreshingly simple, this white port cocktail drinks like a Daiquiri or other summer sipper. However, you’ll notice similarities to more sophisticated cocktails as you savor the sips.

Mindi likens the flavor to Jack and Ginger. Daryl just enjoys its summery, fresh flavor.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail Through Windo
We promise we drank this cocktail before the ice melted. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We recommend pairing White Port Tonics with nibbles like olives and nuts before dinner if you’re entertaining friends. As for us, we typically drink the cocktail while enjoying the view through our Lisbon apartment window.

Ingredients

White Port and Tonic Cocktail Ingredients
You can count the ingredients of a white port and tonic cocktail on one hand. Pictured here are an orange, white port, tonic and fresh mint. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The ingredients in our port and tonic cocktail recipe can be counted on one hand:

  • White Port
  • Tonic
  • Ice Cubes
  • Fresh Mint (Garnish)
  • Orange Peel (Garnish)
White Port and Tonic Cocktail and Mint on Ledge
Fresh mint and an orange wedge add a splash of color as well as bright flavors. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you’re located in Europe or North America, you should be able to find white port wine at better liquor stores and the other ingredients at your local market.

In Lisbon, we can buy decent bottles of white port wine at the grocery store for well under 10€. Shoppers in other countries should expect to pay a bit more for port brands like Sandeman and Graham’s.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail from Above
You’ll want to drink this cocktail all summer long. It’s a keeper. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We purchased a bottle of Ferreira white port to make the cocktail featured in the photos here. We also used 1724 tonic water. However, you can use whatever white port and tonic you have on hand.

Cutting an Orange Wedge
Slicing an orange wedge is the most difficult step in the white port tonic recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You’ll love making this recipe at home because it’s quick, easy and inexpensive to follow. Most importantly, the refreshing cocktail tastes good and can be enjoyed in moderation.

The only steps in the recipe involve measuring, pouring and stirring, so no special tools are required. We typically use a Japanese jigger and bar spoon to craft this and other easy cocktail recipes.

Porto Tonico Variations

White Port and Tonic Cocktail with Mint and Orange on Lisbon Ledge
Plan to craft multiple cocktails with the mint and orange so you don’t waste any food. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You can modify our Porto Tonico recipe based on your personal preferences as well as what you have in your pantry and fridge. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Replace the orange wedge with lemon or lime for more citrus flavor.
  • Replace the tonic with sugar-free tonic if you’re watching your calories.
  • Craft a Gin + Tonic if you don’t have white port in your liquor cabinet.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Porto Tonico cocktail?

The Porto Tonico is a Portuguese apertif. It’s also the most popular Portuguese cocktail.

What is a White Port and Tonic cocktail?

A White Port and Tonic cocktail is the same thing as a Porto Tonico.

What are the Porto Tonico ingredients?

White Port, Tonic, Ice Cubes, Fresh Mint (Garnish) and Orange Peel (Garnish)

What is white port?

White port is a lighter version of traditional port that’s made with white grapes grown in the Douro Valley and fortified with brandy. Traditional port is either ruby or tawny.

What’s the best white port to use when crafting a Porto Tonico?

Any white port will work in the Porto Tonico recipe.

Is the Porto Tonico shaken or stirred?

The Porto Tonico is stirred, not shaken.

Is it difficult to craft a Porto Tonico?

No. The Porto Tonico is super easy to craft at home.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail on Lisbon Street
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4.49 from 39 votes

Porto Tonico Recipe

You can make this refreshing summer sipper at home with just five ingredients – white port, tonic, fresh mint and an orange.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 142kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces white port
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • ice cubes
  • 1 orange wedge (garnish)
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (garnish)

Instructions

  • Add ice to a low ball glass. You can use several small ice cubes or one large cube.
  • Pour white port and tonic into the glass.
  • Gently stir.
  • Add orange wedge and fresh mint as garnish.

Notes

  • You can replace the orange wedge with lemon or lime.
  • You can reduce calories by replacing the tonic with light or sugar-free tonic.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 72IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: April 25, 2020

Recipe Rating




Sean

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

We went to a place in Porto that burned some star of anise in the glasses first. Nice presentation and cocktail. Back in TX, we add a little gin to the mix...

james levett

Monday 25th of September 2023

Thank you. I used Astrada dry white port from the Vila Nova DE GAIA which I bought in an upmarket supermarket in Germany. Its a bargain at €6,99 for 75cl. Alcohol level is 19,5%. I also bought a new tonic water mixed by EB. They make a range of nordic tonic waters and arE based in Sweden. I used their original blend which is very mild and does not have an overpowering quinine flavour. Other topics in the range include 1 tonic based on cloves, 1 on rhubarb , 1 on spruce shootsand an Aperitivo one Rather than use orange peel I used a 3 drops of orange Angostura bitters which was perfect. It gives just a slight hint of the orange

Alex P

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

There’s sweet white Port and dry white Port. Completely different. Which one to use?

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Thursday 28th of October 2021

While there ARE dry whites from the Douro Valley (where Port Wine grapes are harvested), there's no such thing as dry Port Wine from Portugal. Just look for "White Port" from Portugal at your local market or liquor store.

Lisa

Friday 4th of June 2021

Here in Porto we like to garnish our port tonicos with a sprig of rosemary. 😉

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