Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Refreshing and flavorful, this classic is delightful any time of the year

So how’s the weather? Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter. This drink will thrill whatever the temperature.

We favor the chilled version of this cocktail. But serve it warm if you need some cold-weather cheer. It’s an all-season pleaser.

No matter where in the world you happen to be, it’s the perfect time for a Port Wine Sangaree (and that even rhymes).


Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Recipe: Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

The sangaree is an old drink, dating from the 18th century (or even earlier). We make sangaree with port wine, but back in the day it often featured sherry, brandy, gin, ale, or porter.

Our version of the drink contains port wine, lemon, simple syrup, and (sometimes) nutmeg. That ingredient list (and the name of the drink) may remind you of Spanish wine-based sangria. In fact, sangaree may have been the inspiration for sangria.

We like to make this drink with ruby port. You don’t need an expensive one – something in the range of $15 to $20 per bottle will work fine.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves one.

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces ruby port
  • a couple lemon slices (or about ¼ ounce of lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or to taste)
  • sprinkling of nutmeg or a lemon peel or wheel for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Add all the ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake until well chilled (about 20 seconds).
  2. Strain into an ice-filled rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass. Garnish, if you wish, and serve.
Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Notes
  • You can substitute granulated sugar for simple syrup if you wish. But you’ll have to shake longer to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Some versions of this drink omit the lemon, but we think a small amount adds depth of flavor.
  • We’ve seen recipes for this drink that add a bit of brandy to the mix. Interesting, but we prefer a simpler version.
  • We’ve also seen hot versions of the drink that add grenadine (or pomegranate juice) and bitters. We haven’t tried those yet, though you might want to.
  • Nutmeg is the traditional garnish for this drink. But we usually prefer a lemon wheel.
  • Port is fortified wine, with an alcohol content of about 18%. Once opened, it will eventually oxidize and the flavor will become less bright. To prolong its life, we always refrigerate port after opening.
Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Kangaroos, Koalas, and Komodos

“Refreshing!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And after all the heat and humidity we experienced on vacation, we can use a thirst quencher like this.”

“It was hot down under,” I said. “And the closer we got to the equator, the more humid it got.”

“Swell trip, though,” said Mrs K R. “I loved New Zealand. What a gorgeous place!”

“Australia too,” I said. “Sailing into Sydney harbor was spectacular.”

“And visiting the Sydney Opera House was magic,” said Mrs K R. “Especially for an operaholic like myself.”

“Brisbane was lots of fun, too,” I said. “And Darwin had a great botanical garden.”

“I loved seeing kangaroos and koala bears in Australia,” said Mrs K R. “The koalas are adorable!”

“And don’t forget the dragons we saw on Komodo Island,” I said.

“They were fascinating,” said Mrs K R. “But definitely not adorable.”

“And how about the visit to Bali?” I said. “Amazing Hindu temples.”

“I loved the Barong dance and the gamelan music,” said Mrs K R.

“But then we had to head home, flying back through Dubai,” I said.

“Around the world by air and sea,” said Mrs K R. “With a surfeit of airport time.”

“Shall I make us another sangaree to help with our jet lag?” I said.

“Yes, but just one,” said Mrs K R. “Any more than that would be terminal.”

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72 comments:

  1. I love to hear more about your trip, it sounds great. Were you on a tour or cruise? I enjoy Ruby Port, it’s a great cocktail, Prost!

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, we were on a cruise. Terrific way to travel -- you get to see so much. Downside is you don't get to linger in any one place too long. Thanks for the comment.

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    2. I have a difficult time talking my husband going on a cruise.

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    3. Hi Gerlinde, cruises seem to be a love/hate thing for a lot of people. We really enjoy them, but know people who don't like them at all. In fact before we took one, we didn't think we'd like it. But took advantage of an opportunity to do so, and discovered how much fun they were.

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  2. Great to hear you are back and weren't in any way (at least not that you mention) inconvenienced by the disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. It would be great if you wrote a post about your trip, more than just a few hints!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, we were not inconvenienced, but the cruise line had routed some people through Hong Kong for their trips home, and had to scramble to change their air arrangements. We really should do a post about the trip -- always mean to do those, but get preoccupied with what we want to eat next. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. This drink looks like something George Washington may have liked! How did you like the flies in Australia? They really come out in force during the summer. I wonder if you got to try any Mud Crab in Darwin? They have massive claws! Welcome back!

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    1. Hi Fran, we were lucky with the flies. Mostly. :-) Know about mud crabs, but didn't have any, alas. A good reason to go back! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Welcome back, John! I'm sure you are all rested up from your fabulous vacation! I do like a sip of port occasionally and this looks tempting.

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    1. Hi Pat, we're mostly over our jet lag. Mostly. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Good to see you back, John! Sounds like an awesome vacation! Our friends raved about New Zealand and Bali and Australia have to be great also. Lucky you! Bill and I were just talking last wine, neither of us have ever gotten into it, but it's a pretty cocktail and I will pass it on to our wine drinking friends. Thanks and I hope the jet lag isn't too bad!

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    1. Hi Pam, New Zealand is SO pretty! Australia and Bali are wonderful, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. As always I can't stop lookin at your photos, so pretty!

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  7. I think I would like to try this warmed up :)

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    1. Hi Dahn, although we prefer the cold version, the warm is good and worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I'm glad you had such a good holiday and you certainly amassed a few miles whilst doing so as well. That's quite a journey Mr and Mrs KR and you deserve a classy drink to relax now that you are home safely. What a delightful drink! The addition of lemon is perfect and this glass you have served it in, this is sublime :D

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    1. Hi Merryn, it was a terrific vacation. And this is a terrific drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Glad you enjoyed the Down Under part of your cruise on the worst summer season we have ever been able to offer our visitors. Three months in the direct bushfire line has been more than sufficient in my lifetime ! Hope Sydney Harbour had breathable air and visible features when you landed. Having been a total opera freak since age 6 I am glad to have been among the first small group of people in the building, I believe some 46 years ago. Am always amused at the interest shown in our koalas and kangaroos - actually the first can smell awful and give one a very nasty bite and the second may flatten you with their legs when they get hopping mad :) !

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    1. Hi Eha, Sydney was hazy, but from what we were told not nearly as bad as it had been a week earlier. The thing that most impressed us about the koalas and kangaroos was the sheer number we saw (in game preserves). Most zoos only have a few kangaroos, and koalas are pretty rare in zoos in the US (because of their food requirements). Thanks for the comment.

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    2. John - my apologies for bringing this up on a cocktail post ! Just in case any reader may reach Sydney Harbour on a future cruise with but a day or two in port. I would not resort to long and expensive day tours which take hours to get out of the city! Take the zoo ferry close to your liner and spend a couple of hours in probably the most beautifully situated one in the world with all the local animals etc et al . . . Have lunch or dinner at one of our top notch restaurants, many of which are harbourside . . . suggest Asian ones as there are big culinary differences between ours and yours :) ! If you are there in the evening, try to get to one of the many wine-tastings on most nights - we are justly proud of what we produce. Go to the Sydney Fish Market - about 15 minutes by taxi - you will see riches you may not even have heard of and there are many fab places to eat ! Go to one of our Food Halls in the city to compare and contrast availabilities. Take a 5-minute taxi ride to the Art Gallery - beautiful outside and fabulous inside . . . walk out, turn right and within minutes you'll be in our Botanical Gardens viewing the Harbour and your liner. If your 'home' stays at Circular Quay overnight, do try to get a ticket to opera, ballet, symphony or whatever on at the Opera House AND a number of theaters close by . . . Down Under culture and preferences which may interest. If you want to see our beaches and how we live: share a taxi for half a day with someone like-minded and ask to be driven up our Northern Beaches up to Newport and Palm Beach: plenty od places to eat seaside also . . . best . . .

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    3. Hi Eha, some great tips! We love Australian wines (and of course sampled some!) and had a good time discovering seafood that was, as you suggested, totally new to us. We didn't sample much Asian, but looking at menus the restaurant scene looked a bit like what one might find along part of the west coast in the US (San Francisco, LA). What's harder to find in the US is some of the influence from places like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangkok that you get to enjoy. We have it, at least a bit, but it's not as visible as I what I noticed in Sydney. We did get to see Bondi Beach, which was s lot of fun (not the same as Newport or Palm Beach, I know).

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    4. *giggles aplenty* Never thought that we probably pinched our 'Palm Beach' and 'Newport' from you !! Ours are very pretty, kind Sir !!!! The Pacific Trench to the right and the Hawkesbury oysters to the left - you see you just have to come back sometime . . .

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    5. Hi Eha, I've seen pictures of your Newport and Palm Beach -- they're gorgeous! We do have to come back, if for nothing more than the seafood. And the wine. :-)

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  10. I have never heard of sangaree, and like the fact that it is simple and just required a few ingredients...looks refreshing with the lemon in it. Thanks for the post John...have a great rest of the week!

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    1. Hi Juliana, this is a pretty obscure drink these days. It's good, though, so one hopes it'll become popular again. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. glad to hear you had a fab trip Down Under. i suppose you were around whilst the bushfires were happening here? so many deaths, so many poor dead animals too. love the photos of your drink; gorgeous as ever. sounds interesting. bottoms up!

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    1. Hi Sherry, the bushfires were coming to an end, but there was still plenty of smoke haze when we were in Sydney. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. ^Welcome back, John! This one gorgeous cocktail...I am loving those beautiful shots. Cheers!

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    1. Hi Angie, glad to be back! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. What a trip! Bet you have some amazing stories! Good cocktail for the welcome home!

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    1. Hi Abbe, it was an epic trip. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Welcome back! What a trip, sounds magical. As does this libation. The weather is bright and sunny in these parts even though it’s not warm. Sunshine and blue seas is all I need to take me from lethargic to happy! And perhaps a sip or teo of this drink.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, sunshine goes a long way towards improving one's mood, doesn't it? And you're right that a sip of this doesn't hurt. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Sounds like you had a magnificent trip!! I've been to NZ, but not Australia. Hope to get there one day. Bali, too. As for this cocktail, I'd love it warm in front of a roaring fire. Though there are signs that spring will come eventually, I have a feeling there will be a few more bitter days until then.

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    1. Hi Liz, when we got back it was really cold and had snowed. But it's warming up again, and we're getting that change in the quality of light that signals spring is one the way. Love winter, but I'm ready for warmer weather (well, not as hot as in Bali!). Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Welcome back you two. Like many, I did hope you didn’t get caught up in the COVID 19 mess. I’m with Mrs KR, as I love NZ. That’s not to say that Australia isn’t a fun trip as well.
    As for your sangaree, a must try cocktail.

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    1. Hi Ron, NZ is terrific -- love its climate and scenery. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I love the idea of lemon in this. I love port, but it is a heavy drink. The lemon adds a nice little lift to it.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, the lemon changes the whole character of the port -- amazing what a small difference can make. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Very interesting drink a port like sangria, gotta try. LOVE the glass by the way. So great to see you had a fabulous trip.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, this and sangria are really close cousins, aren't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. What a beauty! I bet it tastes great.

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    1. Hi Pam, this has wonderful flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. This is BEAUTIFUL! You should be photographing drinks, John!

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    1. Hi Denise, shucks, thanks for that very kind comment!

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  21. Love the glasses and love this drink even more! It's great that you can make it in the winter or summer.

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    1. Hi Ashley, that glass is fun. As is the drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Wasn't Australia and NZ wonderful and so pretty! The views were breathtaking. Did you go to Milford Sound?

    This drink is definitely one I would love. I honestly can't wait to try it.

    Not sure when you got back but what an exhausting flight, isn't it? Welcome home.

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    1. Hi Vicki, alas, we didn't go to Milford Sound -- and it's a major regret that we didn't. We plan to get our fill of fiords by cruising the coast of Norway (including, we hope, North Cape) at some point in the next few years. And yes, exhausting flights --coming back we had back-to-back 9 and 15 hour flights (plus layovers, plus a short flight from Chicago to St. Louis). Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I want a glass of this right now. And, how are your ice cubes so beautiful? Your trip sounds amazing!

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    1. Hi Lisa, the trip WAS amazing! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Well, it's certainly beautiful! I always love your cocktail photography. Port is a wonderful drink, so I know I'd love this!

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    1. Hi Mimi, you don't often see port in cocktails, but it's in a few. We love ruby port, although we use it more for cooking than for cocktails. Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I can’t imagine this drink without the lemon. I think that bright note would make such a difference in a very dark and brooding cocktail. As I look at your photos, I’m always amazed at the crystal clearness of them. How on earth do you keep your glasses so clean? Amazing.

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    1. Hi David, keeping glasses clean is a major problem! In fact, I have several glasses that I now use only for drinks photography. And never put them in the dish washer -- too easy to cloud them. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. This is a keeper! I love ruby port and this is such an easy way to dress it up a bit. A nice little night cap. :)

    Sounds like you and Mrs. KR had a great trip down under. I'm sure it was nice getting out of the cold, not to mention everything you saw while there.

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    1. Hi MJ. definitely a keeper! And we had a wonderful time -- really fun vacation. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. I love Sangria, so I think this would be equally delicious. Welcome back from your trip. Australia is on my bucket list...

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    1. Hi Laura, Australia is awesome! You gotta go. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This looks fantastic. The color alone was enough to draw me in! I like the idea of a splash of bitters...

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    1. Hi Frank, the color is cool, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. The color of this drink is lovely and it sounds delicious too. I love the option to add a little nutmeg!

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    1. Hi Amy, nutmeg is particularly nice during cool/cold weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I just love Ruby port and this drink sounds wonderful. I'd love a piece of dark chocolate on the side. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, dark chocolate does pair rather nicely with port! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Sounds like a nice refreshing cocktail. Glad to see you back. Sounds like an amazing vacation.

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    1. Hi Dawn, it was a terrific vacation! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. The drink looks fabulous. I have to wonder if you were witness to any of the fire down there. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, we saw smoke haze in Sydney, but weren't that close to the actual fires, thank goodness. Such an ordeal for those that lived near to them. :-( Thanks for the comment.

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