Like a well-tailored suit or a little black dress, classic cocktails never go out of style. The team behind Soi Convent hotspot Vesper Cocktail Bar & Restaurant is well aware of this, and has earned a reputation in both Bangkok and abroad for its execution of both new and timeless libations.
Invoke some of Vesper’s English-inspired elegance at home by making The Grapes of Wrath, a cocktail owner Chotipong Leenutaphong describes as port-forward, refreshing, and easy-to-drink. Combining cask-aged tawny port, La Quintyne Royal Rouge vermouth, vanilla, orange bitters, and lemon, The Grapes of Wrath offers a complexity of flavour and a natural sweetness thanks to the port. If you think port should only be enjoyed after dinner on its own, think again.
“Port is very versatile, yet very complex, and that’s why we love using it in our cocktails,” Leenutaphong said. “Like wine and vermouth, it has a lot of dimensions in its taste. However, it has more volume than wine and vermouth, so you can also treat it as both a base or a modifier to your cocktail.”
Port in a cocktail may be surprising in Thailand, but fortified wine is trending closer to its roots.
“Port is still under appreciated ingredient in mainstream cocktails, but in Europe—and in particular, the UK—a lot of bartenders are starting to incorporate this into their cocktails.”
You don’t have to be a cocktail veteran to be an expert entertainer at home. Follow Leenutaphong’s lead and discover the joy in becoming your own bartender.
“I am not a professional bartender, but it is really nice to invite friends over and I make cocktails for them,” Leenutaphong said. “Seeing when they sip your drink and compliment you on how great it is, is a very satisfactory feeling.”
- 45 ml barrel-aged tawny port
- 45 ml La Quintyne Royal Rouge (sweet vermouth)
- 8 ml vanilla syrup
- 3 dashes of orange bitters
- 3 dashes of vanilla bitters
- 5 ml lemon juice
Put all ingredients into a shaker. Shake and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with orange zest and a maraschino cherry.