Trinidad Sand

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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  • Vidiot

    December 30, 2008, 19:16

    This sounds amazing.

    Do you have a ginger beer recommendation, or have you reviewed the various offerings out there?

  • Tiare

    December 30, 2008, 19:21

    Those who knows me and my blog knows that i`m a crushed ice geek and probably put crushed ice in too may drinks and also drinks that would be better without. But in this drink i wonder if it isn`t best without.

  • Matt Robold

    December 30, 2008, 19:23

    You probably want to avoid anything with too strong a ginger bite. I’ve made this a few times and I really like it with Bundaberg Ginger Beer. It’s just the right amount of ginger and effervescence to balance with the rum & port.

  • Duane

    December 31, 2008, 13:40

    Hey Matt,

    I am a very big lover of Mules and this looks like a very good variation especially with the use of port and a good aged rum, I am going to try making my version later but I am going to use the El Dorado 15 Yr Old and D&G Ginger Beer so I will be able to give you some feed back once I am done….

  • Matt Robold

    December 31, 2008, 18:01

    Hi Duane,

    I gave serious consideration to calling this the Sandeman Mule, but because the original go was a call for Trinny Zaya, I went that route. I think the ED15 will work perfectly with this, probably give it a slightly lighter body, but with those nice, rich, smoky notes from the El Dorado…OK, now I have to go make one like that…

  • rowley

    January 2, 2009, 00:11

    Nice call, Dood ~

    Morpheus is in the other room learning iCal and I’m cleaning up after making one huge pot of chowder and another of a lamb curry. What to refresh the mind and palate after much sweat in the kitchen?

    Why, a Trinidad Sand, of course. Bundaberg for the ginger beer, Appleton V/X for the rum (ok, so it’s a Jamaican Sand) and fat square ice cubes. I’m refraining from the dusting of nutmeg for which this seems to beg ~ at least for the first one. One of the reasons I like this tasty little bugger is that it immediately suggests variants. Fortunately, we are well-armed do to try many.

  • Jon

    January 3, 2009, 05:26

    Im a huge fan of the Chicago Fizz. Its a great drink using dark rum and a ruby port. When properly made its mmmmmm mmmm good.