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White Port and Tonic (Porto Tonico) Recipe

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

White Port and Tonic Cocktail on Lisbon Street

Known as a Porto Tonico, white port tonic is a refreshing wine cocktail crafted with twice as much tonic as white port. With the 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.

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.

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.

Discover our favorite things to eat and drink 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.

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.

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.

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 under 10 minutes and then spent just as much time photographing it.

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.

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.

Port and Tonic 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.

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.

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.

Buy a bottle of White Port from Drizly or Total Wine if you’re located in the US.

White Port and Tonic Cocktail from Above
You’ll want to drink this cocktail all summer long. It’s a keeper.

We purchased a bottle of Ferreira white port to make the cocktail featured in the photos here. We also used Fever Tree Indian tonic infused with Mexican bitter orange oil. However, you can use whatever white port and tonic you have on hand.

Buy a bottle of Fever Tree Indian tonic from Amazon if you can’t find ginger beer at your local market.

Cutting an Orange Wedge
Slicing an orange wedge is the most difficult step in the white port tonic recipe.

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.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Porto Tonico Variations

White Port and Tonic Cocktail with Mint and Orange on Lisbon Ledge
Plan to make multiple cocktails with the mint and orange so you don’t waste any food.

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 any white port in your liquor cabinet.

Porto Tonico Recipe

White Port and Tonic Cocktail and Mint on Ledge

White Port and Tonic Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

You can make this refreshing summer sipper at home with just five ingredients - white port, tonic, fresh mint and an orange.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces white port
  • 3 ounces tonic
  • 1 fresh mint sprig
  • 1 orange wedge
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Add ice to a low ball glass. You can use several small ice cubes or one large cube.
  2. Pour white port and tonic into the glass.
  3. Gently stir.
  4. 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.

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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 and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Learn European Portuguese

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Disclosure

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.

Original Publication Date: April 25, 2020

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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