Gypsy Kitchens: Indian Summer Cocktail

It looks like Autumn and feels like Summer here in Portugal - an unusual heat has lingered into mid-October. This is to the time of year that one usually switches from gin and tonics to something like port, from a refreshing cocktail to an earthier sip. We enjoyed a combination of the two, while watching the mist set in over the river Douro at our campsite and eating some deliciously salty Serpa cheese. This port and tonic cocktail is not our invention, only the name is, but we felt the need to share.
The drink was on offer at Quinta do Panascal, a beautiful prized vineyard we visited in the Tavora Valley. It was created to showcase their white port's crispness and complexity. We didn't order the drink, opting to have a traditional tasting. However, once we tried the Fonseca Siroco, we could immediately see how the tonic and mint would work splendidly. We purchased a bottle after a gorgeous walkabout the grounds, accompanied by a particularly informative audio guide. A few bunches of wrinkled grapes hung around post-harvest; copper toned leaves crunched beneath our feet, but the sun beat down like it was August. Two small bottles of Indian Tonic water, a bunch of fresh mint and some ice were acquired on the drive home.
I suppose Indian Summers would work with any white port, but being as Fonseca Siroco is pretty widely available and it was their idea, you might as well use it if you can get your hands on some. It's crisper and dryer than a lot of other ports like it, which works better with the sweet, carbonated tonic water. Muddle some fresh mint at the bottom of a glass. Unlike a mojito, there's no sugar added to this drink, so go ahead and throw a little crushed ice in with the mint to add texture to your muddling. Add your port, then your tonic, more ice, a sprig of mint for the look of it and you're ready to enjoy the cocktail. It would make an excellent pitcher drink at a lunch party.

Here's the recipe:

Indian Summer
Fonseca Siroco or a white port (chilled)
Tonic Water (chilled)
Fresh Mint

- Muddle fresh mint in the bottom of your glass, use some ice from traction
-Pour in a good helping of port
-Add tonic water (the proportions can be played with)
-Top off with a little more ice
-Stir, sprig and serve.

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