A blog for innovative, unabashed and delightful cocktails. All posted recipes are my original creations. Check out the links for other quality sites that review both classic and hard-to-find recipes from other sources.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Ruby Gauntlet

The Ruby Gauntlet

My neighborhood throws absolutely delightful "happy hours" on summery Friday evenings. The hosting family rotates weekly, and guests bring a snack, a drink, or both to share. Lots of fun folks show up, and the party often lasts well into the evening. More importantly, happy hour is a way to shrug off the demands of work week and just chill out over a drink or two with friends that live close by. Kids play in the yard while adults linger on the deck or inside and discuss everything from speed bumps on local streets to national politics (what else would you expect with the orange glow of the lights of Washington, D.C. just over the treeline?). The stories that come out of my neighborhood might well support a blog of its own, but let's put that aside for now.

Against that background, the family hosting this weekend has heard (hopefully not too much) about my blog and has thrown down the gauntlet. They are port afficianados, and asked me to create cocktails with that beverage. (They are also Scotch experts as well, but that's another topic -- though we enjoyed a dram or two of Glenfiddich before the evening concluded.) Of course, it is my duty and pleasure to accommodate.

My introduction to port was through a great friend from law school. I'm indebted to him and his wife for easing my transition into the New York City way of doing things. They were raised outside the city but learned its ins and outs during their college and grad school years. They kindly educated me on how to get by during my time there. We downed many a glass of port over hands of canasta. I simply cannot drink or mix port without thinking of them.

Enough reverie. Let's get to the drinks to be poured this weekend. As you know, several grades of port are widely available, but in keeping with the Mixologist Manifesto I recommend ruby port in light of the competing flavors.

Port of Manhattan
3 oz bourbon
1 oz ruby port
3 drops Angostura bitters (or to taste)
Splash of sweet vermouth (or to taste)

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Port Orange

2 oz ruby port
Juice of 1/2 orange
Lemon-lime soda
Splash of Grand Marnier

Stir port and orange juice in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda, then add the splash or Grand Marnier.

A Tart in Every Port

1 1/2 oz Absolut Mandrin vodka
2 oz ruby port
Grapefruit soda (such as Fresca or Izze)

Stir port and vodka in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Midsummer Port Fizz

1 oz ruby port
2T blueberries
1 oz raspberry rum
2 oz lemon-lime soda

Muddle port, berries and rum in a highball glass. Add ice. Top with soda.


2 parts grapefruit soda
1 part ruby port

Stir port and soda in a pitcher or measuring cup. Pour mixture into an ice tray or popsicle molds. If using an ice tray, cover with plastic wrap; pierce wrap with one toothpick per section. If using popsicle molds, follow the manufacturer's directions. Freeze until solid, about 3 hours for ice trays, possibly longer for popsicle molds.

Alternatively, pour a few quarts into a container and freeze 24 - 48 hours.

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