This post was made in partnership with Croft Port. Recipe and ideas are my own.
For the first time in forever SoCal actually feels cold for the holidays and I am HERE FOR IT! I’m dressing in layers, I turned the fireplace on (although, if you’ve been reading on here long enough you should know I do that when it dips below 70…), I broke out a winter coat I got on sale a few years ago and haven’t worn yet, and I’m drinking all the hot cocktails right now so that my hands stay warm. It’s heavenly.
Once Thanksgiving comes to an end and I’ve eaten all my leftovers, my brain switches instantly into holiday mode. I want all the gingerbread cookies. I want to string up lights on every surface of my house (don’t worry, I don’t actually do that because that would probably be a fire hazard, but I do think about it a lot). And it’s baking spices in everything, including my drinks. While I can make a cocktail any way I want at all times throughout the year, in December I just want it to feel extra holiday-like. And so that brings us to today’s cocktail.
I’ve teamed up with Croft Port to show you all how to enjoy port in a hot cocktail, and more importantly, how to make it extra for the holidays. Extra holiday. Croft Reserve Ruby Port has some built-in holiday spices already in its flavor profile: clove, cinnamon, burnt caramel, cardamom, and a warm chocolate nuttiness. While delicious on its own, today’s hot cocktail will bring out those spices further with the addition of chai tea. While chai teas vary widely in spices, the tea I’m using goes heavy on the cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. A generous dose of freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a sharpness to the cocktail, cutting through some of the sweetness of the port, and the sweetness provided by my extra special ingredient, banana liqueur. That brûléed fruit flavor here is a welcome, unexpected addition to the drink, providing a deep, brown sugary sweetness that, again, makes me think of Christmas cookies.
When Croft Reserve Ruby Porto is warmed up, it also brings out the luscious berry notes and gives a rich, hearty mouthfeel which you want since you’re watering down the viscosity with the chai tea.
So bring on those cold nights, I’ll be ready for them with some hot port cocktails. And so will you!
Holiday Spiced Port Hot Toddy
1 chai tea bag
3 ounces boiling water
1-1/2 ounces Croft Reserve Ruby Port
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounce banana liqueur
In a heat proof mug or glass, combine the tea bag and boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea bag and pour in the Croft Reserve Ruby Port, lemon juice, and banana liqueur. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or dehydrated orange slices.