Port Wine Sangaree

Port Wine Sangaree
1 1/3 Wineglasses of Port Wine. (Generous 2 oz Smith & Woodhouse 1999 Late Bottled Vintage Port)
1 Teaspoonful of Sugar. (1 teaspoon caster sugar)
(1 oz Chilled Sparkling Water)
Fill tumbler 2/3 full of ice. Shake well and grate nutmeg on top. (Err, well, as in the previous two Sangarees, muddle sugar in a splash of soda water to dissolve. Add big ice cube, pour over port, stir briefly, and top with an ounce of Chilled Sparkling water. Garnish with Lemon Twist and Nutmeg.)

I’ve been annoying the wine clerk at Canyon Market this week, he keeps asking me what I need, hoping to make some swank and perceptive wine recommendation, and I say “Well, I need some Madeira for a 18th Century Drink I’m making.” Fortunately, they do have small, but decent, selection of fortified wines.

I had to explain the whole Sangaree thing, and he got it right away. “You mean something you could drink on your lunch our and your boss wouldn’t fire you?” Exactly. Just enough to take the edge off, but not enough to get much of a buzz.

Or, as David Wondrich remarked last night at the Cointreau event at the Boothby Center for Beverage Arts, “…They just didn’t have bottled soft drinks back then, and sometimes you’d want something a little milder than a cocktail.”

Anyway, I picked this Late Bottle Vintage Port, because I wanted a Port with enough “grip” to stand up to being diluted. So many of the modern Ruby Ports are being made in such a mild, sweet style, as to be nearly Sangarees without adding the extra water and sugar for dilution.

This Port Wine Sangaree and the Madeira Sangaree were definitely my favorites of the bunch. Give them a try some hot summer afternoon and tell me they are not great drinks.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

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