Sangaree, Sangara

A month or so ago my cocktail a day calendar had a recipe for a sangaree. I was intrigued by these cocktails, new to me, and wrote myself a note to experiment with various versions one of these days. Yesterday was one of those days.

Sangaree is derived from sangria, which is derived from the word for blood. In its basic form, the sangaree, a West Indies drink supposedly, is a base liquor on ice, usually sweetened (sugar or simple syrup), sprinkled with nutmeg, and more often than not port floated to top it off, which of course adds more sweetness. You can add a lemon wheel for a little extra zing.

I tried four versions. The first was one of my own concocting: Southern Comfort, simple syrup (or maybe I didn't use it in this one; it didn't need it), creme de peche, a wheel of lemon, nutmeg, and port. Southern Comfort goes good in anything, and this cocktail was pretty good, maybe even great. The nutmeg went well with the peach flavors in SC, turbo-charged by the creme de peche.

The second was gin (I used Tanqueray 10), simple syrup, nutmeg, port. I don't remember much about this one, except that it was drinkable, if not rememorable.

Third on my list was a variation on #2: gin, Benedictine, grapefruit juice, lemon wedge, nutmeg, port. I had a grapefruit but didn't want to juice it just to get a squirt for this, so I used - with some trepidation - pineapple juice (from a can) instead.

To my surprise, the pineapple juice worked pretty well; it didn't overwhelm all the other flavors. I like Benedictine, which worked in combination with the other flavors, including all the herbal notes in the gin. A pretty drinkable drink too.

Last was a whiskey sangaree: I used Jack Daniels, simple syrup, lemon chunk, nutmeg, port. I have a love-hate relationship with whiskey drinks. I like 'em sometimes; other times they just don't do it for me. This tended towards the don't do it for me category. Drinkable, but I didn't love it. I'd make the Southern Comfort one instead.

So try a sangaree sometime. They're a nice change from your usual cocktail.