So, you are at home, enjoying the fact that summer has finally arrived in the UK and you can enjoy being outside again. You love wine, of course, but the temperature has made you thirsty and you feel you need something thirst-quenching rather than to savour. You are tempted to drink a longer drink … so that rules out the wine, right? Not exactly
Wine has cultivated the idea that all the creative work needed to enjoy the product has already happened; in the vineyard, in the winery and in the bottle. There’s nothing left for you to do but open, pour and enjoy.
In fact, there’s no law that says you can’t still get creative. Why not blend different wines (SHOCK!), or in this case, make a wine-based cocktail?
It has been happening for years, particularly in hot climates, with drinks like Kalimotxo (pronounced ‘calimocho’ – Red wine + Coke) and Sangria. Well, the Portuguese also have an elegant solution for you, the Port & Tonic.
In this case, the Port in question is white port which is a rarity on our shelves, but not that unusual. It is like other ports, but made exclusively from white grapes, and in the case of ‘Chip Dry‘ from Taylors, fermented a little longer so that the wine is drier too.
White Port makes a great aperitif on its own (it was a big hit at Christmas with my family), but for a hot day, mix it with tonic for an elegant cocktail.
In the interests of science, this blog and you, I decided to compare the same drink made with the better known Schweppes brand, and the new superstar, “Fever Tree“. I have to say that the Schweppes made a tasty drink, but that it left you with a stronger impression of the tonic, with an almost chemical tropical fruit note which rather masked the port. The Fever Tree version, on the other hand, was more refreshing, and while the tonic water added a pleasant tang, it brought out the fruit and nuttiness of the Chip Dry port. We had a winner!
If you fancy making this yourself this weekend to kick off the BBQ the recipe is ultra-simple:
- 1 part Taylors ‘Chip Dry’ White Port (cold)
- 2 parts Fever Tree Tonic (VERY cold)
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 mint leaf
Enjoy! I’m off to experiment with the rest of the port and other mixers.
My bottle of Chip Dry Port was given to me as a sample, but can be bought from Budgens (£14.99) or from many other retailers (e.g. Waitrose, Ocado) or independent wine merchants
Fever Tree is now widely stocked in local wine shops but even in the supermarkets