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Introduction to the Port Wine Sangaree

Welcome to the world of classic cocktails, where history and flavor intertwine to create timeless drinks. The Port Wine Sangaree is a testament to this tradition, offering a sweet and spiced sipping experience. Perfect for those who appreciate a cocktail with a story, this beverage is both simple to make and sophisticated in taste.

With its rich blend of port wine and the subtle sweetness of simple syrup, complemented by the warm spice of nutmeg, the Sangaree is a drink that invites you to savor each sip. Its origins date back to the 17th century, making it a historical gem in the cocktail world. Let’s dive into the details that make the Sangaree a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast.

Key Facts About the Port Wine Sangaree:

  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 14% ABV
  • Calories: Approximately 180 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 15g
  • Preferred Glass: Wine goblet or large glass
  • Typical Garnish: Lemon Peel

Interesting Facts about the Port Wine Sangaree

The Sangaree is a precursor to the modern-day sangria, sharing a similar name and fruit-infused characteristics. It was a popular choice among colonial Americans, often enjoyed as a refreshing cooler. The versatility of the Sangaree allows it to be made with various spirits, adapting to the drinker’s preference.

Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Port Wine Sangaree is a harmonious blend of sweet and spicy notes. The rich, fruity flavor of port wine is elevated by the addition of simple syrup, while grated nutmeg introduces a comforting warmth. This cocktail is ideal for those who enjoy a drink that’s not too strong but full of character.

It’s a versatile choice, suitable for a quiet evening at home or as a sophisticated offering at a social gathering. The Sangaree’s historical roots also make it a conversation starter, perfect for themed parties or as a novel addition to a classic cocktail menu.

History of the Port Wine Sangaree

The Sangaree’s story begins in the 17th century, where it was first mentioned in the Caribbean. It quickly made its way to American colonies, where it became a beloved refreshment. The name ‘Sangaree’ is believed to have originated from the Spanish word ‘sangría,’ which means ‘bleeding,’ referring to the red color of the drink.

Over the years, the Sangaree has seen many variations, with different spirits and wines taking center stage. However, the Port Wine Sangaree remains a classic representation of this historical cocktail, staying true to its roots with its simple yet effective combination of ingredients.

Port Wine Sangaree Ingredients

The ingredients for a Port Wine Sangaree are few but essential in creating the perfect balance of flavors:

  • Port Wine (4 oz / 120 ml): The base of the cocktail, providing a rich and fruity flavor.
  • Simple Syrup (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Adds sweetness to complement the port wine.
  • Grated Nutmeg (2 dashes): Offers a warm spice that enhances the overall taste.
  • Lemon Peel: Serves as a garnish, adding a citrus aroma and a touch of elegance.

Did you know? The Port Wine Sangaree can be customized with different spirits, making it a versatile choice for any palate.

Ingredients for Port Wine Sangaree

Port Wine Sangaree Method

Creating the perfect Port Wine Sangaree involves a few simple steps:

  1. Start by pouring the port wine into a wine goblet or large glass.
  2. Add the simple syrup to introduce sweetness to the drink.
  3. Gently stir the mixture to combine the flavors.
  4. Fill the glass with crushed ice to chill the Sangaree.
  5. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top for a hint of spice.
  6. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel for an aromatic finish.
  7. Serve immediately to enjoy the full spectrum of flavors.

Serving Suggestion

The Port Wine Sangaree is traditionally served in a wine goblet or a large glass, which allows the aromas to develop and provides ample space for ice. The garnish of lemon peel not only adds a visual appeal but also releases essential oils that complement the drink’s flavors.

Elevating the Port Wine Sangaree

To take your Port Wine Sangaree to the next level, consider these professional tips:

  • Use High-Quality Port: Select a premium port wine for a richer flavor profile.
  • Homemade Simple Syrup: Craft your own simple syrup for a fresher taste and the ability to adjust sweetness.
  • Fresh Nutmeg: Grate nutmeg directly over the drink for the most potent spice notes.

Elevated Port Wine Sangaree

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Port Wine Sangaree

If you’re missing an ingredient or wish to experiment, consider these substitutions:

  • Replace port wine with another fortified wine like sherry or madeira.
  • Use honey or agave syrup instead of simple syrup for a different sweetness.
  • For a non-alcoholic version, use grape juice with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Similar cocktails include the Sangria, Bishop, and Claret Cup, which share the Sangaree’s fruit-forward and spiced characteristics.

Add a Twist

As an expert mixologist, you might try these variations on the classic Sangaree:

  • Infuse the simple syrup with herbs like rosemary or thyme for an aromatic twist.
  • Add a splash of brandy for extra warmth and depth.
  • Muddle berries in the glass before adding the other ingredients for a fruity take.

Preferred Liquors for the Port Wine Sangaree

While the Sangaree is traditionally made with port wine, selecting a high-quality vintage port or a tawny port can significantly enhance the drink. Brands like Graham’s or Taylor’s are known for their exceptional ports that work beautifully in this cocktail.

Similar Cocktails to the Port Wine Sangaree

If you enjoy the Port Wine Sangaree, you might also like:

  • Sangria: A fruity and wine-based punch, perfect for parties.
  • Bishop: A warm, spiced wine cocktail ideal for colder months.
  • Claret Cup: A refreshing mix of wine, fruit, and soda water.

Food Pairings to go with the Port Wine Sangaree

The Port Wine Sangaree pairs well with a variety of foods:

  • Classic cheese platters complement the wine’s richness.
  • Spiced nuts or candied pecans echo the nutmeg’s warmth.
  • Dark chocolate desserts bring out the port’s deep flavors.

Port Wine Sangaree FAQs

Here are some common questions about the Sangaree:

  1. Can I use a different type of wine? Yes, while port is traditional, other fortified wines can be used.
  2. Is the Sangaree very sweet? It has a balanced sweetness that can be adjusted with the simple syrup.
  3. Can I make a large batch? Absolutely, the Sangaree scales up well for parties.

Port Wine Sangaree

A classic drink dating back to the 17th century, the Port Wine Sangaree is a simple yet delightful concoction that offers a refreshing and slightly sweet taste. It's a perfect beverage for a relaxed evening or a sophisticated gathering.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 180 kcal


  • Wine goblet or large glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Nutmeg grater


  • 4 oz Port Wine
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Grated Nutmeg
  • Lemon Peel for garnish


  • In a wine goblet or a large glass, pour the port wine.
  • Add the simple syrup to sweeten the mixture.
  • Stir the ingredients gently until well combined.
  • Add crushed ice to fill the glass.
  • Grate nutmeg over the top of the drink for a hint of spice.
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Note: Simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar dissolved in water. It can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Adjust the sweetness to your liking. The traditional Sangaree can also be made with other spirits such as brandy, gin, or ale.
Keyword Classic Cocktail, Easy Recipe, Historical Cocktail, Lemon Peel, Nutmeg, Port Wine, Sangaree, Sweet Beverage, Traditional Drink

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