This month’s Guest Corner article is brought to you by Andy Velebil. He presented this article to me a few months ago, but there is never a time where Port Tonics cannot be enjoyed.
With the warm summer months now upon us, and BBQ season in full swing, I can think of no better time to enjoy a refreshing drink to quench ones thirst than with a White Port and tonic. At a time when some people slow down their Port drinking, this is a great way to still enjoy Port during those warm days of summer.
About a year ago I first heard about this concoction and thought “What a mad idea.” After all who would ruin Port by adding anything to it? Well curiosity got the best of me and last summer I tracked down a bottle of Fonseca’s Siroco Dry White Port, picked up some tonic water, and fresh mint leaves and headed home to give it a go. I was very impressed with the results and that was the first of many more to come. After a bit of experimenting I found that about a 50/50 mix of Port/tonic and about 5-8 mint leaves was just about right.
Over the past year I’ve had this more times than I can remember. On the 2006 Harvest Trip this was a staple at many of the Producers we visited. After tasting thru a big line up of Ports this was a great way to cleanse the palate, relax for a bit, and get ready for lunch or dinner. I can still vividly recall being at Quinta de Vargellas on that warm October afternoon and having Alistair Robertson make me a drink. I sat on the veranda overlooking the Douro River taking in the breathtaking scenery while sipping my Port and tonic.
I’ve also found this to be a good way to introduce people to Port, or in some cases re-introduce people to Port. I’ve had several friends say they’ve tried Port and didn’t like it. Every one of them has changed their minds after having a White Port and tonic. So don’t be afraid to give this drink a try.
How to make a Port and Tonic:
What you’ll need:
1 – Bottle of Dry White Port (such as Taylor’s Chip Dry, Fonseca Siroco, etc.)
2 – Tonic water
3 – Fresh mint leaves
4 – Ice cubes
In a tall glass add 5-8 mint leaves and then top off with ice cubes. You can add more or less mint depending on your taste preference. Then add in equal parts White Port and tonic water and stir.
Andy is an avid cyclist and Port aficionado in his spare time. During work hours, Andy is a police officer in Southern California, not far from where the serious fires are taking place at the moment. He has attended the Port Harvest Tour in 2006 and 2007 and has developed an excellent palate, having tried over 500 Ports in the past two years alone. - Roy Hersh