Check out this fabulous Port cocktail to close out the year, and celebrate the new one coming!
With the new year fast approaching, we find ourselves looking forward to celebrating what the future might bring, but we also want to remember the past that made us who we are today! Taking a chance to remember the highlights of the past year is definitely a reason to celebrate, which is why we created a cocktail we call The Recap, a cocktail that uses a spirit that has been around for ages, but one that definitely shouldn’t be forgotten, Port Wine!
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Port wine is one of those ingredients that is typically thought of as a post dinner drink, sipped on by wine lovers to go along with their dessert, but it also has a place in your cocktail glass! Port was a favorite ingredient of a lot of the great bartenders from the early 1900’s where it found its way into popular cocktails like the Port cobbler or the Coffee Cocktail and frequently had a whole section of cocktail recipe books from that era devoted to Port cocktails.
These days, Port is making a comeback in the cocktail scene as more of us cocktail fans start going back through those old cocktail books and rediscovering some of these classic cocktails and bartenders start to rediscover using Port in cocktails! We were excited when the folks at Fonseca Port asked us to develop a holiday cocktail that uses their fantastic Fonseca BIN 27 Port Wine to celebrate New Years!
Port wine is a fortified wine that us made by the addition of distilled grape spirits (typically brandy) to fortify the wine and halt fermentation before all the sugar is converted to alcohol. This fortification results in a wine that is usually higher proof and typically richer, sweeter, and heavier than a normal wine. Originally prized by sailors and importers of wine due to the high proof which prevented the wine from spoiling during its long voyage, Port became especially popular in England in the 1700s as it was really the only wine that English folks could get thanks to a was with the French (who understandably did not want to export wine to their enemies!) Port wine’s popularity spread along with the English empire, and it is now popular with wine drinkers all over the globe!
Fonseca Port has been known among fans of Port wines as a premium port house, with their collection of vintage Port wines that are prized for their consistent quality and rich robust fruit flavors. Most famous among the Port wines in Fonseca’s portfolio is BIN 27, a reserve Port that was originally released back in 1972 to better meet the demands of Port wine lovers who wanted the full bodied fruit flavors of a fine vintage Port but with out the hassle of decanting the vintage Port.
The winemakers at Fonseca used wines from across Portugal’s Durro Valley (where almost all the grapes used for Port wine are grown) to create BIN 27’s blend that is rich, smooth and distinctly full full of complex fruit notes and hints of spice and chocolate. The blending of various vintages allowed Fonseca to make BIN 27 similar in flavor and body to the high end vintage Ports, but more accessible to the casual Port drinkers by making BIN 27 ready to drink when poured right from the bottle, allowing the drinker to skip the decanting process and just get right down to enjoying the wine!
BIN 27’s accessibility and rich full bodied flavors also makes BIN 27 ideal for the cocktail lover, as busy bartenders, home mixologists and cocktail lovers don’t want to sit around waiting for a Port to decant before using it in a cocktail, they want to get right to mixing! Since we were looking to make a cocktail that would be perfect for celebrating the New Year, we wanted something that would feel fresh like the upcoming new year, while still having a rich aged feeling that hearkens back to traditions from days gone by. This is where Fonseca BIN 27 comes in, combining the celebratory feeling of a Port wine with its rich fruity sweetness of a young Port, with the smooth warmth and depth that comes from its aging in wooden barrels for around four years.
We started out to make today’s cocktail, The Recap, by adding a generous dram of BIN 27 to a mixing glass as the base spirit of the cocktail. After that we added a little Italian amaro, which played extremely well with the warm fruity notes of the BIN 27, the spices and herbal notes of the amaro bringing out the chocolate and cherry notes of the BIN 27. A little mint simple syrup adds a freshly brewed tea component while adding just a hint of fresh sweetness. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds just a hint of acid and brings the whole drink into balance. A quick stir with some ice to chill the cocktail and a spritz of club soda to add an bubbly effervescence adds a celebratory flair to the cocktail! And just like that, you have the Recap, a cocktail that celebrates the future and the past!
- 2 oz Fonseca BIN 27 Port Wine
- 1 oz Amaro
- 1/2 oz Mint Simple Syrup
- 1/2 Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1.5 oz Club Soda
- In a mixing glass, combine Fonseca BIN 27 Port Wine, Amaro, Mint Simple Syrup and Lemon juice
- Add ice.
- Stir until chilled.
- Strain into a cocktail coupe or wine glass.
- Top with chilled Club Soda.
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