Embracing the Holidays with Port

Mixing up a Diavlo cocktail with Sandeman Founders Reserve port.

Normally prepared on its own as served in a large wine glass, port is recently gaining traction as a versatile and welcomed addition to a cocktail recipe. The rich and fruity components of this ruby red wine make for an even more fitting cocktail ingredient as we finally usher in the start of the holiday season.

So how does one use port in a cocktail? A ruby port, such as Sandeman’s Founders Reserve, comes in at 20% ABV, in the ranks of many liqueurs on the spirits side. Simply start with making port an additional ingredient in your upcoming holiday cider or sangria recipes. Founders Reserve has been aged for five years, giving it depth to complement a variety of powerful fruit flavors.

At home, I gave the following recipe a try, as was found on the brand’s Facebook page, the Diavlo:


  • 1 oz Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port
  • 1 1/2 oz. Avion Tequila
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • ginger beer

In a tall Collins glass, pour tequila, lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice. Top off with ginger beer up to 1/2 inch from the top of the glass. Float Sandeman Founders Reserve on top and garnish with a lime wheel.

This drink intrigued me for it has the strong foundation of looking to be a Buck style of cocktail (spirit, citrus, ginger beer). Typically, I associate a Buck as a summer beverage, but the float of the Founders Reserve added a truly earthy depth. As such, the Diavlo developed into a cocktail layered with flavor that, to me, would be welcomed at an upcoming holiday party.

So the question of the day is: How do you use port wine as a cocktail ingredient? I’d love to see some of your ideas in the comments below!



Filed under Recipes

2 responses to “Embracing the Holidays with Port

  1. Here is a great classic one that makes for a fine dessert drink, especially after you used your egg whites for other drinks:

    Josephine Baker
    3/4 oz Cognac
    3/4 oz Port Wine
    1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
    1 tsp Sugar
    1 Lemon Peel (I used about 2 square inches of peel)
    1 Egg Yolk
    Shake sugar, egg yolk, and port to dissolve the sugar. Add rest of ingredients and ice; shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Freshly grate cinnamon (or dust cinnamon powder) on top.

    And something for the egg-phobes from Prohibition-era Havana, Cuba:

    Sloppy Joe’s Cocktail #2
    3/4 oz Brandy
    3/4 oz Port
    3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
    1/4 tsp Curaçao
    1/4 tsp Grenadine
    Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

    • cocktailculture

      Thanks, Frederic! I believe I actually have my bar already stocked with everything I would need to make both of these drinks – looks like I have some more experimenting to follow through with at The Dirty Bird!!

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