White port and tonic? I first heard of the idea when a keen Portuguese wine drinker mentioned it to me at a tasting event, and I politely nodded my head in agreement while trying to hide my bafflement at the unusual combination. More fool me – it is now my summer drink of choice! Although I didn’t take much convincing – the first time I tried it, and was subsequently hooked, was after a long hot day in the Douro valley, in the stunning surroundings of Quinta de la Rosa.
Port wine is a sweet wine, fortified with brandy or other spirits, and it is one of the most famous exports of Portugal. Its lesser known compatriot is white port, made in the same method from any of the local white varieties permitted in the blend. If you are yet to experience the delights of white port – I’d say this is a great place to start, particularly while the sun is shining! It’s a perfect apéritif – the port is slightly sweet, gently herbaceous, and still has a lightness and a freshness you might not expect. Try and pair it with a less-sweet, higher-quinine tonic water to balance out the flavours, such as Fever Tree. Mix 1 part port to 2 parts tonic water, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of orange. You can thank me later.