Having recently began a love affair with port it felt like high time that I found some cocktails to incorporate it into and where better to start than with the Crimson.
Both visually striking and delicious, the Crimson cocktail – which, as you can see from the image below, is aptly named – uses the natural richness from the ruby port to counteract the harshness of the gin and the sharp acidity of the lemon juice. What you end up with is a sweet, sticky and slightly tart drink that is overall well rounded and would be perfect as an after dinner cocktail or on it’s own on a cold winter night, when you can embrace the warmth that the copious amounts of booze will bring.
The Crimson isn’t one to drink solely throughout the night but instead works best when interspersed among other beverages; too many in a short period of time will undoubtedly leave your teeth with that weird furry coating normally associated with drinking too much coke, so another lighter drink as a palate cleanser would help you appreciate the Crimson without having to dash off to brush your teeth.
As the port is both the dominant flavour and texture, it’s important to use one that you enjoy so I would recommend taking the time to find a ruby port that tastes good on its own too. We used Graham’s LBV 2012 which is frankly outrageously good value for money. The gin is drowned out when combined with the other ingredients, so if there’s a bottle on your bar that you don’t enjoy you might be able to get away with using them here. That might sound like heresy but trust me, if you start getting into this hobby you’ll end up with a few bottles shoved at the back of your bar which won’t get used.
The recipe calls for you to float the port on top of the drink, but I’ll admit that I struggled to do this and found it strange in all honesty that it is supposed to work. Floating – or layering as it’s also known – drinks requires that you start with the heaviest liquid which I would imagine the port is in this case, and it therefore sunk in the glass every time I tried to float it. I’m not all that bothered that it didn’t float however, as I personally love the gradient effect that the cocktail ended up with. I think it looks striking, so i’m quite happy for this to be a happy little mistake, ala Bob Ross.
♦ 1 ½ ounces gin
♦ ½ ounce lemon juice
♦ ¼ ounce grenadine
♦ ¾ ounce ruby port
Shake the gin, lemon juice and grenadine together before straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Float the port on top. If needed, leave the cocktail to settle for a minute or 2 before serving.