A Storm in the Port

I was with my old gin and tonic crowd this past weekend. These were the kids that I spent many a night drinking G&Ts with, thinking we were alcohol sophisticates unlike our college peers.

I had my recipe down pat, then taught my younger brother the joys of drinking well (although it took a few lessons before he reached our status) with the ratio of 1:3 (gin to tonic) and a hefty squeeze of lime. If we didn’t have a spoon or knife handy, we just made the ice bob up and down a few times for good stirring measure.

This past weekend another friend, Matt, threw me a birthday barbecue and although gin is his least favorite alcohol (much to my college friends’ chagrin), he had plenty on hand. However, as we would never tell our college selves, our lives as grad students, freelancers, and med students have made us appreciate the nuances of gin even more. The first thing my friend, Yuri, asked when he walked through the door was if I had gin and tonics on hand. Some things never change.

But then, a little more than halfway through the night, we realized we were out of gin. Matt, our host and not college Matt, had few things to mix with tonic — none of us really wanted a vodka tonic — and then I remembered recently hearing about how the Portuguese often make a port and tonic in the summer. If it was anything like the other drinks I had in Portugal or the cognac and tonics I drank with French friends, it would be our savior.

I mixed one port and tonic up. We each took a sip, passing the red cup around. This was going to be our new drink of the summer.

Port and Tonic

1 part ruby Port

3 parts tonic

lemon wedge, optional


Throw together. Use whatever implement to stir. Enjoy, preferably on a patio or deck with choice of Portuguese music playing.

[We had some more urban techno going (I blame Matt) but also like a nice bossa nova or samba (for uptempo) or fado (more down tempo).]


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