Trinidad Sand

by Matt Robold on December 30, 2008

Sandeman Port was the most recent sponsor of the Mixoloseum’s Thursday Drink Night.  On December 18th a collection of cocktail bloggers, bartenders, and other cocktail enthusiasts signed in to the Mixoloseum’s Bar and spent the evening mixing cocktails with a rarely-used ingredient: port.

Port, of course, is a Portugese fortified wine that is often served as a dessert wine.  Typically one would drink it on its own.  I know that when an excellent glass of rum isn’t an option after dinner, I’ll often opt for a nice 20 year old Tawney Port.  This being said, it’s not unheard of for port to be used in cocktails.  In fact, I’ve used it as an ingredient here before.

Sandeman has been producing and selling wine since 1790.  George Sandeman, a Scotsman, started the company in London and immediately began selling port and sherry from a coffee house.  In the 1930’s Sandeman bottled its first in-house vintage port.  Today Sandeman Port is distributed in 55 markets – selling at a rate of 21 bottles per minute worldwide (according to Sandeman’s website).

The Trinidad Sand was a drink that I came up with at the behest of Rick from KaiserPenguin.  I was discussing another drink recipe with Rick and he suggested that we needed to come up with a good use of rum and port.  I really wanted to work with the 10 Year Old Tawney sample that Sandeman had sent me, and I set about looking for a good rum match…

Trinidad Sand

1.5 oz Sandeman 10 Year Old Tawney Port
1.5 oz Rum
.5 oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters
2 oz Ginger Beer

Mix port, rum, lime juice, and bitters and shake with ice.  Strain over ice into an Old Fashioned Glass.  Top with ginger beer and give a single stir.

You’ll want to use a darker, richer rum for this.  Don’t go using a white or your average gold.  I highly recommend something along the lines of Zaya, Ron Zacapa, or Monte Cristo 12 Year Old as the richness will stand up will to the port (I used Zaya from Trinidad for the drink in the photo).  The combination of the rum and port gives this drink a rich, creamy texture that plays nicely off of the effervescence of the ginger beer.  You don’t want to use too much ginger beer – stick to the 2 ounces.  While the drink definitely feels tropical, its depth works really well at making this a great drink for any time of year.

My one debate with this drink is whether or not to use crushed ice.  What are your thoughts?

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