Justin Lavenue, the co-owner of The Roosevelt Room in Austin, will vouch for white port’s deliciousness on its own. “But it’s great when used as a substitute for other fortified or aromatized wines,” he says. Case in point: this floral, aromatic, low-ABV sipper.
In his take on a classic Chrysanthemum, the recipe for which was first published in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, Lavenue adds a hefty pour of white port to the white-vermouth-and-Benedictine formula, dressing it up even further with a chamomile infusion and a bit of verjus blanc.
He keeps the Chrysanthemum’s bit of absinthe, but calls for sweeter blanc vermouth instead of the typical dry, and adds a few drops of a salt tincture to accentuate all of the cocktail’s complex notes.
It adds up to a pleasing plethora of floral notes, fitting for a riff on a classic cocktail named for a flower.
- 2 ounces Taylor Fladgate Chip dry white port
- 1 ounce chamomile-infused blanc vermouth*
- 1/4 ounce Benedictine
- 1 teaspoon verjus blanc
- 1/2 teaspoon Kubler absinthe
- 4 drops salt tincture**
- Garnish: lemon twist
- Garnish: baby’s breath (optional)
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
Express the oils from a lemon twist over the drink, then discard the twist.
Garnish with baby’s breath on the side of the glass, if desired. Note: Do not let the baby’s breath, if used, come in contact with the cocktail. It is mildly toxic and may cause stomach upset if ingested.
*Chamomile-infused blanc vermouth: Add 20 grams of dried chamomile flowers into a 750-mL bottle of blanc vermouth. Allow to infuse overnight. Strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth, discarding the solids, and bottle. Will keep, tightly sealed and refrigerated, for about two weeks.
**Salt tincture: In a small blender (or Vitamix, Nutribullet, or similar), add 1 part extra-fine-grain Himalayan salt and 5 parts distilled water and pulse to combine. Add 5 parts vodka, then pulse again. Pour into a dropper bottle for use.