While port and madeira may bring to mind cloying dessert pairings, these fortified wines of days past are finding their way into modern cocktails. By definition, port is a product of Portugal, made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley and bolstered with brandy during fermentation, while Madeira—a darling of the colonial South making a comeback in popularity—originates from Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. Beverage Director Morgan Weber of Agricole Hospitality, parent company of Eight Row Flint, a Houston ice house with an intense focus on craft spirits, combines Madeira with bourbon, apple, and vanilla for a comforting classic perfect for sipping in front of a fire. Alternately, Julie Rogers, bar manager of Agricole’s Italian-American joint, Coltivare, pairs tawny port with bright herbs and tangy berry notes to perk up the winter months.
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