A Gentleman’s Portion is a free pouring of liquor, usually Scotch or Cognac, where the server does not use a measure. It may not amount to as much as a double, but it seems generous. The Victorian phrase was only used occasionally in the 20th Century, but has been enjoying a resurgence with millenials.
Bartenders, such as Josh Prout, formerly at The Oxley in Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville area, have created eponymous cocktails.
Applied to food, it refers to “a good helping, but not a greedy one,” suitable for a gentleman about to engage in some vigorous endeavour, I supppose, and needing the calories.
Restaurants sometimes use the descriptor to differentiate a full plate, from the presumably smaller “Ladies’ Portion.”
In another context, author Robert McKenna in Bottoms Up!, a collection of toasts, tales and traditions of drinking’s long history as a nautical pastime, quantifies how rum was apportioned on board: a “wet” was enough to cover the lips; a “sipper” was a gentleman’s portion; a “gulper” was one big swallow; and “bottoms up” meant draining the glass. The phrase was first documented in The New Monthly Magazine, published in London in 1857.
About Nigel — Nigel Napier-Andrews brings a passion for life, food and Scotch whisky to the stories of his travel, culinary adventures and a lifetime of good living.
He has been writing the whole of his career: as a young journalist in Kenya, then in advertising, PR and at BBC in London, at CBC in Toronto as the producer, director and writer of hundreds of television shows, as the author of four published books, including the bachelor cook book How to eat well and stay single, the local food eBook Market to Table: The Cookbook, and many newspaper and magazine articles, and as the creator of thousands of television shows and corporate videos.
In the spring of 2014 he became the host of the television series Escapes with Nigel, by his count, his ninth career.
In 2016 he hosted a new series with a stronger food theme — Market to Table and published a companion e-cookbook.
Gentleman’s Portion on Instagram — Casting our social media net even wider, in 2016 we joined Instagram under the gentlemansportion banner. Check out our images.