Yes it is the middle of Winter in Chicago. Yes I, like many, have a preference for brown spirits and cocktails composed from such during these cold, light-starved days. And yes, I have been staring at an unopened bottle of Lillet Rose on my shelf since mid October. While the wind chills here in the Midwest might not be screaming, 'mix me up a Spring-influenced aperitif cocktail'...this month's Mixology Monday, graciously hosted by Chemistry of the Cocktail spurred me to think otherwise. As proposed by Jordan...
Fortified wines began, in large part, as a way to deal with the difficulties of shipping wine long distances in the holds of sailing ships. Without the rigorous sterilization that is possible today, wines would often spoil en route. However, increasing the alcohol concentration to around 20% ABV was enough to keep them from going off. Coincidentally, this also made it possible to age those wines for very long periods, increasing their richness and depth.
These wines held an important place in the ur-cocktails of punch and have continued on in cocktails proper, the personal punches of the past several hundred years. Though less common nowadays, sherry, port, and, to a lesser extent, madeira and marsala, all find their way into various mixed drinks.
For this month's Mixology Monday, I'd like to see what you all can do with these versatile wines. They can play many different roles - from taking the place of vermouths in classic drinks, to providing richness and sweetness in winter tipples, to serving as a base for lighter aperitifs. Whether forgotten classics or new creations, let's see what you can put together.