If there’s one thing I hate about living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s the stretch of time from late October until late June, when the sun makes only the most occasional of appearances. I typically pack on an extra 10-15 pounds during those rainy months, party due to over-consumption of wintertime drinks like dark beer, egg nog, hot-buttered-anything and wassail. I wanted a drink for the winter that I could add to my cocktail menu that was more like the light, café-style cocktails I typically gravitate to during the summer.
Jerry Thomas prescribed a drink called “sangaree” that, to the best of our knowledge was a colonial adaptation of the Spanish “sangria”. The recipe, which calls for anywhere from 1½ to 4 ounces of port, Madeira, gin or brandy dolled up with sugar and dusted with nutmeg in a glass sounded less than exciting to me, but the challenge of updating this old chestnut sounded like a fun January task.
We began with ruby and tawny ports but found both way too sweet. White port got us much closer to our target, but it wasn’t until a healthy dose of dry vermouth was applied that we knew we were on to something. To provide additional depth and hint at the drink’s colonial origins we sweetened with a maple-nutmeg syrup and finished the whole thing off with a teaspoon of allspice liqueur and orange oil.
The Dry Vermouth Sangaree
3 oz dry vermouth
½ oz maple-nutmeg syrup*
1 tsp St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 large strip orange peel
Shake everything – yes, even the orange peel – with ice until well-chilled and strain into a cold cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh strip of orange peel.
*To make maple-nutmeg syrup, combine 8 ounces each of Grade B maple syrup and water, and 1 tbsp freshly-grated nutmeg. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let cool, strain out solids, bottle and chill.
Post from: Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Follow me on Twitter.
Dry Vermouth Sangaree