ort: the fortified wine that has held a distinct, prestigious allure for over 400 years. Mainly known as an aperitif that is served neat, Port also has a storied history of being a main ingredient in cocktails. In the 17th century, British gentlemen and sea captains combined Port with sugar, water, and nutmeg to form the "sangaree" (the precursor to the modern day sangria). By the 18th century, Jerry Thomas famously mixed Port with an egg to create the "Port Wine Flip." Whether in a punch bowl or a silver Mint Julep cup, Port in cocktails used to be everywhere.
The uncanny compatibility of Port and spirits has a lot to do with how Port is made. In the days of sailing ships, transporting wine on a transcontinental voyage required that winemakers add alcohol in the form of spirits to make sure the wine survived the harsh conditions encountered during several months at sea. Typically, the added spirit increased the wine's alcohol level from 13 to 20%, and the resulting wine's hefty structure helped it keep very well for months in variable conditions and for many decades in a proper cellar. This is how fortified wines were born.
Today, Port has become somewhat lost in the cocktail world's shuffle, difficult to find amid the fervor of flavored liqueurs and multi-colored drinks. Nevertheless, the cocktail world is abuzz and energized as classic cocktail ingredients are undergoing a renaissance, making Port - and its use in cocktails - ripe for re-discovery. Port wines have opulent flavors and round, velvety textures giving both classic and modern cocktails enticing aromas, alluring character and robust body. Used as an excellent base or an exceptional "dash" to cocktails, Port is a new "go to" concept for your recipe bag of tricks. No longer solely the province of old men in smoking jackets puffing on stogies, Port is now being rediscovered by a youthful crowd hungry for history, who think cocktails are fun, a bit decadent and see this as an essential part of entertaining.