Port has not always had the most modern image in Britain, often seen as a Christmas drink consigned to the more mellow part of the evening. But this thinking now seems outdated, even wrong. Many classic cocktail recipes, dreamed up in the late 1800s list Port as the base in cocktails and punches, and today more and more mixologists from hip cocktail bars across the country (and the world) are shouting about the drink’s virtues as a way of elevating a cocktail with added complexity and flavour. There’s also a healthy nod to the lower alcohol qualities of Port compared to gin, vodka and whisky.
Its complex flavours and different styles lend themselves to a variety of cocktails. A younger ruby Port delivers fresh, red-fruit notes. Oak-aged Tawny Ports give a hit of richer notes and delicious sweetness. White port, from white grapes, contribute bright acidity and a bagful of fruit flavors. Pink Port, in the meantime, is all about crisp fruit intensity.
White Port Season
For many around the world this time of year lends itself to white port and tonic or even white port sipped on its own over ice.
Taylor’s pioneered dry white aperitif Port back in 1934 when its Chip Dry White Port first burst onto the market. Made from selected dry white Ports produced from a variety of grapes grown in the Douro Superior, its core and most important grape is the Malvasia Fina, known for its fresh, light and moderately complex character.
Taylor’s Chip Dry
Chip Dry is produced using the traditional Port wine vinification methods, but the wine’s secret is that moment in the fermentation process when the winemakers add a slug of high quality brandy to halt fermentation and preserve some of the grape’s natural sugar in the finished wine. The winemakers at Taylor’s add the brandy late, when much of the fruit sugar has been converted into alcohol, producing a Port of unusual dryness. The individual wines are matured separately in oak vats for between four and five years and are then blended together shortly before bottling. The result is a wine of superb balance and delightful character.
So what can we expect from the Taylor’s Chip Dry? From this light straw coloured wine, the nose is delicate and mellow with fresh fruit fragrances and hints of oak. Fresh, lively palate, with good flavour and crisp, dry finish.
How to serve
Taylor’s Chip Dry White port is best served chilled between 6ºC to 10ºC, either as a drink on its own, or alternatively pour into your favourite glass over ice, top up with tonic water, and add a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of lemon or orange. Add in a bowl of salted almonds or olives for extra deliciousness.
Once opened, the bottle will maintain its freshness and vibrancy for up a month.
Taylor’s Chip Dry and Tonic Cocktail
- Taylor’s Chip Dry White Port – one part
- Tonic Water – two parts
- A couple of mint leaves
- Strip of orange zest or slice of lemon
- Lots of ice
Where to buy: Waitrose,Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, Virgin Wines, Amazon
Background on Taylor's
For many Taylor’s is the quintessential Port house. Family managed since 1692, Taylor’s owns three great vineyards in the Douro, Quinta de Vargellas, Quinta de Terra Feita and Quinta do Junco. These iconic properties, all with the highest possible rating, occupy three distinct geographic locations with their own unique character, and provide the main source and backbone of Taylor’s unique house style.