Port isn't a common cocktail ingredient these days, but a comeback could be at hand. Long ago port was found in drinks including the sangaree - the predecessor to today's sangria. Other sangarees were made with beer and other fortified wines like sherry and Madeira.
Fortified wines including vermouth and sherry are popping up on more cocktail menus these days, so it is likely port won't be far behind.
Port has a wide range of flavors, but in many drinks I've seen it treated like a sweet vermouth. It makes a nice substitution for that ingredient in a Manhattan, for example. Port also pairs well with wintery spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
In the following drink, though, port goes tropical with the addition of rum, lime, and orange liqueur. The cocktail was developed by author David Wondrich, who knows a thing or two about old-time cocktail ingredients.
Though he calls for a flavorful rum, the port is what really stands out in this grapey, fairly dry drink.
By David Wondrich
1.5 fl. oz. Good, flavorful white rum such as Banks 5 Island Rum
.5 fl. oz. Fonseca Bin 27 Port
.5 fl. oz. Orange Curacao or Grand Marnier
.5 fl. oz. Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.