In general, Port is considered something to be enjoyed on its own in front of a fireplace or with dessert rather than as a cocktail ingredient. However, the fortified Portuguese wine is a worthwhile addition to any home bar, and serves plenty of purpose beyond being an after-dinner libation. Port can replace vermouth in a mixed drink or add sweetness. It can also act as the base in cocktails, bringing their alcohol content down to more quaffable levels without sacrificing body or richness. And it’s a versatile and varied category with many different styles. The director of events for Liquid Productions in Aston, Pennsylvania, Lulu Martinez pairs pink port with tequila, citrus and tarragon for a lively and botanical drink in the Lounge Chair Afternoon.
“Pink port has lovely hints of fresh berries and a light natural sweetness and makes for very sessionable cocktails,” says Martinez. Straddling somewhere between a white port and a ruby, this style works with everything from gin and vodka to tequila and rum. “Port’s lower alcohol levels with vibrant flavors add a fantastic component for playing off other spirits.”
For the tequila, Martinez goes with an añejo, which is a tequila that has seen a least a year in a barrel. The robustness of the tequila is tempered by the light pink port and citrus juices. Grapefruit juice is a natural pairing for tequila of any kind, and tarragon adds complexity and nuance. The end product is one you can enjoy a few glasses of without much worry of over-intoxication.
- 1 1/2 ounces Croft pink port
- 3/4 ounce Siete Leguas añejo tequila
- 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce tarragon simple syrup*
- Garnish: grapefruit half-wheel
Add the pink port, añejo tequila, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and tarragon simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a double Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with half of a grapefruit wheel.
*Tarragon simple syrup: Combine 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 1/4 cup fresh tarragon sprigs. Steep for 15 minutes or until desired flavor is achieved, then strain out solids.