As the name already implies, the Porto Flip contains port wine. And when you mix that with Brandy and a whole fresh egg, the resulting cocktail will be very rich in taste and mouthfeel. The foamy top with freshly grated nutmeg gives the appearance of a dessert, and it also somehow feels like drinking a dessert. It might sound a little bizarre, but the Porto Flip comes across like a combination of both - drink and snack.
To finetune this cocktail classic, you have to find the best combination of Brandy and port. While for the Brandy part, Cognac is my favorite, the port wine part is up for debate. I would either go with a more nutty tawny port or fruity ruby port. But no matter which one you choose, the result is going to be unconventional yet delicious.
History of the Porto Flip
The first flip cocktails got created in the late 1600s. Back then, the recipe included ale, sugar, eggs, and spices. The mix was heated with a red-hot iron and was served hot. Later the recipe evolved, and fortified wine or liquor became the base of the drink.
Today the category of flips contains many different cocktail recipes. The Porto Flip is only one part of this category, and probably the most famous one. But unfortunately, because of the vast amount of different flip cocktails, there is hardly any documentation. Therefore, it is hard to tell who actually invented the Porto Flip.
What we do know, however, is that Jerry Thomas was the first one to publish the recipe in written form. Back then, in 1862, when he released his book The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks; A Bon Vivant’s Companion. In that book, the cocktail goes under its old name Coffee Cocktail. In the image below, you can see the original recipe and also a note by Jerry Thomas. That, at least, tells us that it wasn't him who invented the drink. Thomas stated that he cannot be sure why the drink is called like that: "... hence probably its name."
When made right, the drink looks similar to coffee. However, depending on your choice of ingredients, the cocktails can also have a reddish shade instead. That, and the fact that there is no coffee involved, ultimately might have led to the name change.
The category of flip cocktails
Flip cocktails generally are delicious, sweet, and rich drinks. They usually contain fortified wine or liquor, a whole fresh egg, and a bit of sugar to create a rich concoction with a frothy top. Flip cocktails can be served hot or cold, depending on the recipe. Besides the Porto Flip, there are numerous other Flip recipes like:
- Sherry Flip
- Brandy Flip
- Rum Flip
- Whiskey Flip
- Gin Flip
The category is closely related to eggnog. However, there is a significant difference between both categories. Both have eggs as an ingredient, but only eggnog combines cream to create an even richer drink.
Ingredients for a magnificent Porto flip
The list of ingredients to make a Porto Flip is relatively short. Nevertheless -or more because of that- the quality of them is vital. I highly recommend using a quality Cognac along with a fine tawny port and an organic, fresh egg. For instance, a Rémy Martin 1738 Cognac works perfectly. But, of course, you can also opt for a more affordable alternative.
For the port, I prefer a 20-year-old Sandeman Tawny. Alternatively, I would go with the entry-level version, the regular Sandeman Tawny. But, to be honest, the 20-year Tawny is significantly better. That goes for mixing a cocktail and even more so when drunk neat.
To balance the drink, you can or should add a tiny bit of simple syrup. Not too much, because otherwise, the cocktail quickly gets too sweet. Just enough to balance the ingredients.
Introduction to port wine
In case you never heard of port wine before. Port is a fortified wine, just like Vermouth or Sherry. It is produced in the Douro valley in the northern part of Portugal. Port wine is usually richer and sweeter, but also stronger in alcohol when compared to regular wine.
There are many different types of ports, ruby and tawny being the most popular ones amongst them. You can click here to learn more about the different types of port wines.
- 1 oz Cognac
- 1.5 oz Tawny port wine
- 1 tsp Simple syrup
- 1 Organic egg
- Grated nutmeg (garnish)
- Add Cognac, port, syrup, and egg into a cocktail and dry-shake without ice for 15 seconds.1 oz Cognac, 1.5 oz Tawny port wine, 1 tsp Simple syrup, 1 Organic egg
- Open your shaker, add ice, and shake again until the whole drink is chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with freshly grated nutmeg.Grated nutmeg