How to make a White Port and Rum Paloma

With Quinta da Pedra Alta


I have a confession to make. Both times I visited Portugal, I avoided drinking port.

I know, I know. I made a big mistake, but hear me out. My point of reference to port wine, like almost everybody else’s, it seems, was my grandparents’ liquor cabinet. Grandpa and Granny Hurt drank Manhattans - sometimes whiskey, but usually Southern Comfort. They also had a collection of boozy odds and ends, and port wine was one of the dustier bottles.

My cousins Barb and George and I once decided to “explore” said cabinet. The port wine tasted, well… we didn’t even get around to tasting it. It smelled like a mix of old man and gym socks.

But, if you’re looking for a wine to use in cocktails, then what you want is port. Port, in all of its lovely colours of ruby, tawny and white, can be a bartender’s secret weapon. If you want to lower the alcohol content but up the flavour, port’s your gal. If you want to add nuance and spice, port’s your gal. A dab of port will do ya just fine.

Perhaps the most versatile port for cocktails is white port. White port, unique to the Douro Valley, adds a luscious layer to cocktails, and in Portugal, it’s often simply mixed with tonic before dinner. It’s also good with gin and tonic together, and it makes a pretty darn near perfect paloma, with equal parts port and tequila mixed with grapefruit soda and lime.

Though port is fortified with brandy, which means it will last longer than regular wine, eventually it will degrade and taste like the port wine sitting in my grandparents’ liquor cabinet. White port typically lasts from two to three weeks, maybe up to a month, and it stays fresher longer if you put it in your refrigerator instead of the liquor cabinet. 

So, if you do find yourself in Portugal, do taste the port, especially if it’s in a cocktail. It isn’t anything like grandpa in sweat socks. 


30ml white port like Pedra No. 03

30ml aged, floral rum like Kasama

120ml pink grapefruit soda like Fever-Tree

7ml fresh lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in all ingredients, and stir for about 60 seconds or until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice, garnish with a grapefruit wedge or lime wheel. 

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