Port Wine Cocktail for The Next Holiday Party
If ever there was a drink to divide audiences right down the middle, it would have to be Port wine. It’s the kind of thing you either cannot get enough of or simply cannot stand. Because it has a characteristic sticky-sweet flavor. This Port Wine Cocktail recipe may have you divided.
Personally, I’m in the former of the two camps. I could honestly drink this stuff every day. Not that I would, of course…I’m all about sensible moderation.
But let’s be honest, there are times over the festive season when moderation goes completely out the window. Sensible eating habits temporarily give way to artisan cheeseboards and perfectly paired Port wine. It’s all part and parcel of the experience.
Having been a huge fan of Port wine for many years, I’ve come across a whole bunch of weird and wonderful recipes along the way. Some of which have definitely proved weirder than others. But this simple Port wine cocktail is a real standout.
It’s a straightforward recipe with just four ingredients.
All of the ingredients combine to bring out the fabulous flavors of the Port wine. And since it’s the season of all-things generous, I’m also throwing in a bonus recipe at the bottom to wow your guests with!
Looking for festive cups and glasses to serve your drinks in? Here are a few options.
An Accidental Discovery
You could call it at least a little ironic that I found this Port wine cocktail recipe completely by accident. Making cocktails was the last thing on my mind at the time. But this four-ingredient formula popped up and caught my eye.
I say ironic because Port wine itself also came about purely by accident. Back in the 17th century, a type of brandy called aguardente was added to Portuguese wines. It helped preserve them during long journeys by ship. Having discovered that not only did the alcohol preserve the drink, merchants discovered that it also gave it a distinct flavor. So, merchants began adding aguardente during the fermentation process.
A fortuitous accident if ever there was one, giving rise to one of the world’s most iconic fortified.
Port Wine Cocktail Recipe
Before getting down to business, I’ll make one admission right now. Under normal circumstances, serving Port wine at anything but room temperature would be pure heresy.
Port wine really needs to be at room temperature to bring out its flavors, if planning on enjoying it solo.
However, this particular recipe calls for the addition of chilled sparkling water and ice cubes. All of which may sound like a great way of killing the Port wine, but the ingredients in the mix bring out its flavors in different ways.
Trust me, I was just as skeptical as you probably are, but it works!
Here are the basic ingredients you will need to put this unusual yet inspired concoction together.
- 1 cup Port wine
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup sparkling water
As for the formula…well, no need for a list of complicated steps this time.
All you need to do is throw some ice cubes into a glass, add all of the ingredients and give it a good stir!
What you’ll find is that the sourness of the lemon cuts through the sweetness of the syrup and the Port wine beautifully. It creates a sweet and sour experience with just the right amount of sparkle.
Of course, you can also get as creative as you like with your choice of syrups. Agave is great for letting the natural flavors of the Port wine shine, but you can use pretty much any flavored syrup you like to put your own spin on the result.
Bonus Recipe: Special-Occasion Port Wine Reduction
As promised, I will now be sharing with you one of my favorite special-occasion sauce recipes of all time. I say ‘special-occasion’ simply because it calls for a handful of pricey porcini mushrooms and a full bottle of Port wine.
Not because it is difficult to make – it is actually a walk in the park.
The resulting sauce is essentially a fantastic approximation of a luxurious beef demiglace. The difference being that it takes infinitely less time to make and is nowhere near as complicated.
You can serve it over any meat you like, but personally I think it’s a match made in heaven for a good ribeye or fillet steak. Best of all, it keeps for a good few days in the fridge and can be stored in the freezer indefinitely.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the ultimate Port wine reduction:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot; finely chopped
- 1 bottle tawny port; (750 ml or 3 1/4 cups)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
And here’s the surprisingly simple method for putting it all together.
Boil Port Wine
- Place a tablespoon of the butter in a pan and use it to fry a chopped shallot for around five minutes.
- Pour the entire bottle of Port wine into the pan, before adding the sprigs of thyme and bringing to a vigorous simmer.
- Let the Port wine continue boiling in the open pan (no lid) for approximately 30 minutes, or until the substance in the pan has a syrupy consistency. At which point, there should be around ½ cup of liquid left.
Heat Chicken Stock with Mushrooms
- Next, heat the chicken stock in a separate pan until it reaches a simmer. Take off the heat and throw in the dried porcini mushrooms.
- You will then need to give the mushrooms a good 20 to 30 minutes to steep, during which they will transfer all of their rich and earthy flavors into the stock.
- Take the large pieces of mushroom out of the liquid and strain the rest of the mixture through a piece of cheesecloth, which will get rid of any unpleasant sediment.
- Combine the infused chicken stock with the thickened Port wine syrup, along with as many of the soaked mushrooms as you like – whole or chopped into small pieces.
- Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, allowing it to simmer vigorously for about 15 minutes. Again, allowing plenty of time for it to reduce until you have around 1.25 cups of syrupy goodness.
- Strain the mixture once again, giving the whole thing a good press to extract all the flavors.
- Place the resulting mixture in a suitable container, allow to cool and store in the fridge for up to two days.
You then simply need to heat it and pour it over whatever you like, but seriously – there’s nothing better on earth than a dollop of this stuff over a good medium rare steak!
Port Wine Cocktail for The Next Holiday Party
- 1 cup port wine
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup sparkling water
- In a glass put some ice cubes.
- Pour in some port wine, agave syrup, juice of the lemon and sparkling water.
- Mix and serve to enjoy.
Share your thoughts, or ask a question!