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.
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.
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.
What is White Port?
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.
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.
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.
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What Are Porto Tonico Cocktails?
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.
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
The ingredients in our port and tonic cocktail recipe can be counted on one hand:
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.
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.
How to Craft a Porto Tonico Cocktail
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.
Porto Tonico Variations
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:
Porto Tonico Recipe
- 1 1/2 ounces white port
- 3 ounces tonic
- 1 fresh mint sprig
- 1 orange wedge
- ice cubes
- 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.
- 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
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.
Original Publication Date: April 25, 2020