If there’s one thing I hate about living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s the stretch of time from late October until late June, when the sun makes only the most occasional of appearances. I typically pack on an extra 10-15 pounds during those rainy months, partly due to over-consumption of wintertime drinks like dark beer, egg nog, hot-buttered-anything and wassail. I wanted a drink for the winter that I could add to my cocktail menu that was more like the light, café-style cocktails I typically gravitate to during the summer.
Jerry Thomas prescribed a drink called “sangaree” that, to the best of our knowledge was a colonial adaptation of the Spanish “sangria”. The recipe, which calls for anywhere from 1½ to 4 ounces of port, Madeira, gin or brandy dolled up with sugar and dusted with nutmeg in a glass sounded less than exciting to me, but the challenge of updating this old chestnut sounded like a fun January task.
We began with ruby and tawny ports but found both way too sweet. White port got us much closer to our target, but it wasn’t until a healthy dose of dry vermouth was applied that we knew we were on to something. To provide additional depth and hint at the drink’s colonial origins we sweetened with a maple-nutmeg syrup and finished the whole thing off with a teaspoon of allspice liqueur and orange oil.
The Dry Vermouth Sangaree Print Me
- 3 oz/90 ml dry vermouth
- ½ oz/15 ml maple-nutmeg syrup*
- 1 tsp/5 ml allspice or pimento dram
- 1 large strip orange peel
- Shake everything - yes, even the orange peel - with ice until well-chilled and strain into a cold cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a fresh strip of orange peel.
- *To make maple-nutmeg syrup, combine 8 ounces each of Grade B maple syrup and water, and 1 tbsp freshly-grated nutmeg. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let cool, strain out solids, bottle and chill.
Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com
18 Replies to “Dry Vermouth Sangaree”
This was freaking delicious. What else do you suggest for the Maple Nutmeg syrup, since I now have that onhand? Would probably be delicious in my old fashioned, too?
Sounds amazingly delicious. Maybe you should come down and make a batch for the next employee party.
Bringing it back to your old home town. Eugene is responding well to your advances! (as per usual)
Jeff- For the Maple Nutmeg syrup, is it 8oz each of Syrup and water?
Okay, I think I’ve found the Starbelly Variation:
3 oz. Noilly Prat Dry
1 oz. maple-allspice-nutmeg syrup (since I can’t use the St. Elizabeth)
1 oz. lemon juice
I’m still looking for something to give me the rum flavor without, you know, being rum, but it’s a start.
Was curious if there was a particular reason why you shook this cocktail rather than stirring it during preparation?
Haven’t been able to find St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in SW MO, What would you recommend to do instead?
I love this. Delicious.
The story leaves me salivating, as most article about booze do. With the homemade concord grape dry vermouth I make it’s awesome too.
I’m wondering how this would work with a dry sake.
Rocky – There’s only one way to find out. Get busy.
Jeff – this looks awesome. I’m trying to figure out how to adapt it for my bar, which is beer/wine/vermouth only. Any thoughts, or do you have any other recipes I might unleash on my unsuspecting staff?
Juliana – I would try making a non-alcoholic allspice syrup to substitute for the St. Elizabeth. Be sure to report back with your findings.
Nathan – Would you happen to be using the Dolin Blanc, or the Dolin Dry?
And Jesh, try a Chrysanthemum sometime. It’s two ounces of dry vermouth, one ounce of Benedictine and a teaspoon of absinthe, stirred and served up.
Frickin great!! I love it when people come up with vermouth based cocktails. Know where I can find anymore?
Okay, I’m trying this with Dolin, which I’m told is fairly sweet for a dry vermouth. I’ll try and find some Noilly Prat.
Nathan – I didn’t personally find the sweetness of a quarter ounce of maple syrup and teaspoon of allspice dram to overpower three ounces of dry vermouth, but your mileage may vary. And I’m using Noilly-Prat dry vermouth in this one.
Throwing in a whole egg tempers the sweetness and makes a delicious, delicious flip.
I have to wonder about myself sometimes. “Well, J-Mo said to mix dry vermouth and maple syrup, I guess I’d better do it.”
It’s an intriguing drink, but very sweet. What dry vermouth did you use?