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Late Summer Port Cocktails

BY Andrew Barrow

1st Jan 2015 Drinks

Late Summer Port Cocktails
Port – its just for Christmas, right? Cold, dark evenings, a glass of warming, deeply flavoured port by the fireside. It is what winter is made for. And it’s always red. But, if you have been perusing the fortified wine shelves in your supermarket of choice, you might have noticed a white port nestling up against the Late Bottled Vintage or Ruby.

A white port? 

Yes indeed. Made the same way as your usual port only without the juice been given a long steeping in contact with the red wine skins. White port is often labelled dry, although there is still a little sweetness compared to say a Chardonnay or Sauvignon.
The Port producers have long been advocating drinking their wines outside of the Christmas season. In Portugal white port is often used in place of gin. So you would have a Port and Tonic with lashings of ice plus the addition of a mint leaf or two as well as a slice of lemon. Look out for Sandeman Apitiv Port and Taylor’s Chip Dry if you fancy giving a Port and Tonic a try out during these last few weeks of summer.

Ruby Ports

The more basic red ports – those labelled as Ruby – can also be chilled and served as a cocktail. Try serving Quinta do Portal Fine Ruby in a tumbler over ice and topped up with a sparkling rosé wine. Delicious. I dare you to only have one glass.
Another option is to serve Ruby ports over ice and garnish with a slice of orange. Do that barman’s thing with the orange skin and twist the orange oils over the drink to add a wonderful dimension. Grahams Fine Ruby is perfect for this.

Tawny Ports

Tawny are different from the deep red ports. They have a different colour for a start, hence the name. Port aficionados rate these higher than the deeply coloured ports. I’ve become a convert to the nutty-edged 10 and 20 year old Tawnys, superb depth when served lightly chilled.
While these might be better served as is I was introduced to a cocktail using Ramos Pinto’s 10 Year Old Tawny. This takes orange or mandarin juice, mixed with the port and dusted with cinnamon. Mint again is used as a garnish.
No need therefore to wait until the shivering depths of winter to open a bottle of port. Equally no reason why these cocktails couldn’t also be served over Christmas or New Years either. A real bartender can do that easily for you. There are many bartenders for hire to help you enjoy your Christmas and New Year's eve party. 

Port Cocktails to Try at Home

Ruby On the Rocks

  • 1 part Grahams Fine Ruby Port
  • 1 slice Orange
  • Ice

Ramos Pinto Summer Sunset

  • 3 parts Ramos Pinto 10 Year Old Tawny
  • 2 parts orange or mandarin juice
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Mint and ice.

Quinta do Portal Ruby Fizz

  • 1 part Quinta do Portal Fine Ruby

Port and Tonic

  • 1 part Taylor’s Chip Dry White Port
  • 2 parts tonic water
  • Mint and lemon slice to serve
Read more articles by Andrew Barrow here

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