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Port wine may be synonymous with sipping on in front of the fire on cold winter evenings; however, it is a surprisingly versatile drink.

So, whether you are a Port aficionado looking to switch things up or simply want to use up that bottle leftover from Christmas, there are lots of great Port recipes to choose from.

In this article, we are going to explain what Ruby Port is and show you how to make Port Martini, Port Negroni, Port Old-Fashioned, Port Lemonade and Port and Coke.

Note: 1 oz has been rounded down from 28.4 ml to 25 ml (standard small British pour) for simplicity for those who prefer to measure in ml.

Port Martini

What is Port wine?

Port wine is a fortified wine, which means that additional alcohol (grape spirit) is added to fermented grape juice to produce an alcoholic sweet wine. It is made from black grapes grown in the upper Douro in Portugal. The majority of Port wine is red, but it is also made in white and rosé styles.


Types of Port

There are different styles of Port with different names, which can be confusing. Let’s discuss briefly what they are, what they taste like and how they differ from one another.

Ruby Port

Ruby Ports are bottled ready to drink. They are deeply colored and taste fruity. There are three types of Ruby Port:

Inexpensive Ruby Port

Inexpensive Ruby Port is fruity, sweet and simple wine, usually aged for less than three years.

Reserve Ruby Port

Reserve Ruby Port uses better quality wine, has complex flavors and intensity. They are aged for up to five years.

LBV Port

LBV Port is similar to Reserve Ruby Port, but the wine is made from a single year’s harvest.

Tawny Port

Tawny Ports are a paler-colored Ruby Port (some have White Port added to adjust the color) with caramel and toffee flavors.

Reserve Tawny Ports are aged for a minimum of six years in small oak vessels. They develop kernel and oxidative flavors (walnut, coffee, caramel) and have a tawny or even brown appearance rather than the ruby or purple colors of Vintage Ports.

Tawny Ports with indication of age can be labelled 10, 20, 30 or 40 (indicates the average, rather than a minimum age). They do not need to be decanted and should be drank as close to the bottling date as possible. This date is usually written on the label. They are best served slightly chilled.

Vintage Port

Vintage Port is only made in good years. They are made from grapes from the best vineyards. After a short period of ageing in oak, Vintage Port is bottled unfiltered. They are long-live wines that age well.

Generally speaking, a Vintage Port is a special occasion drink to savor, rather than to use as a cocktail ingredient.

White Port

White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles.

Rosé Port

Rosé Port is a recent variation that was first released in 2008. It is created in a similar way to rosé wine. There is a shorter period of contact with the grape skins, ensuring less color is extracted (creating the rose color rather than the typical deep ruby color created with longer contact with the grape skins).


Port Martini

A twist on a classic Martini using Ruby Port.


  • 2 oz Ruby Port 50 ml
  • 1 oz vodka 25 ml
  • .5 oz cranberry juice 12.5 ml
  • Olives


  • Pour ingredients into an ice-filled shaker.
  • Shake and strain to a chilled Martini glass.
  • Garnish with olives.

Port Negroni

A Portuguese twist on a classic Negroni.


  • 1 jug or other container for mixing


  • 1 oz Ruby Port 25 ml
  • 1 oz Gin 25 ml
  • 1 oz Campari 25 ml
  • Orange zest or peel
  • Ice


  • Add a handful of ice to a jug.
  • Pour the Port, gin and Campari over the ice.
  • Stir until well chilled.
  • Strain into an old-fashioned glass over some ice.
  • Garnish with orange zest/peel.

Port Old-Fashioned

A Portuguese twist on a classic cocktail.


  • 1 oz Ruby Port 25 ml
  • 1 oz Bourbon or rum 25 ml
  • 2 tsp sugar syrup
  • Splash of soda water
  • Orange zest/peel


  • Add the Port, Bourbon and sugar syrup to a shaker and shake.
  • Fill a glass with ice.
  • Strain the liquid from the shaker into the glass.
  • Add the soda water and stir.
  • Garnish with orange zest/peel.

Port Lemonade

Port, vodka and lemonade mixed together for a delicious cocktail.
Servings 1


  • 1 oz Port wine 25 ml
  • 1.5 oz vodka 37.5 ml
  • 2 oz lemonade 50 ml
  • 1 lemon slice


  • Fill a glass with ice.
  • Add the ingredients and stir well.
  • Garnish with lemon slice.

Port and Coke

A Portuguese version of the Spanish drink Kalimoxto/Calimocho.


  • 3 oz Port wine 75 ml
  • 9 oz Coke or cola of choice 225 ml
  • Ice cubes
  • Slice of lemon


  • Add ice to a glass.
  • Pour over the Port and Coke.
  • Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Read with confidence: I am a certified wine expert (WSET L3).