The holidays are a time of excess, and the excess is starting to take its toll. Beyond the generalised fatigue and slight bloat, my seasonal mania is starting to fade, and it turns out that Christmas Claire may have overdone it with the food and alcohol purchasing (once again).
For instance, instead of buying a port wine cheeseball—a fine processed product that can be found in any grocery store—I made one from scratch. It was good (and appreciated) but a port wine cheeseball requires port wine, so now I have a mostly full bottle of cheap-arse, super sweet port hanging out in my kitchen, mocking me.
I drank some of it on Christmas Eve, and it was not very good (though it was perfect in a ball of shredded cheddar and cream cheese). I’ll probably cook with it, but I’d also like to drink with it, as it is an alcoholic beverage, after all. Luckily, when mixed with bonded bourbon, the fruity, sweet port wine makes a pretty decent old fashioned-esque beverage.
You have probably figured this out by now, but this drink is not something you should make with fancy, expensive port. This is for the cheeseball port, or the eight-dollar bottle you bought because it just felt like the festive thing to do. This is for the port someone brought to your office Christmas party, which remained unopened, so you took it because you’re not wasteful.
Port, in this context, acts much like a syrupy sweetener, but it also lets you say you’re “making a cocktail”—you’re not drinking bonded bourbon straight from the bottle, not yet. And, even though it is a “cocktail,” it’s a cocktail you can build right in the glass, which is good, because who has the energy for stirring, shaking, or any of that nonsense. To make it, you will need:
60mL bourbon, bottled in bond works well (rye would work too)
30mL of whatever port you bought this holiday season
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Add ice to a lowball, and pour all of your ingredients over ice. Give the glass a swirl, or a stir with your finger, and enjoy. If you want to add a garnish, a strip of orange zest would work quite well.