Wine enthusiasts know about Sherry. Chefs know about Sherry. Even the eminent Dr. Frasier Crane knows about Sherry. But do you?
If you’re like most people, you probably think it’s a one-hit wonder. Perhaps you’ve overheard a sommelier describe their fondness for it, or a chef’s preference for it in their cooking. Or if you’re like me, you were first introduced to it as the Crane brothers’ drink of choice on NBC’s hit sitcom Frasier.
Whatever you may think, I’m here to tell you it is no one-hit wonder reserved for wine aficionados and chefs. Sherry is delicious and surprisingly versatile.
For the uninitiated, Sherry is a type of fortified wine derived from white grapes in Southern Spain. It comes in many varieties from very dry to very sweet. On its own, it’s an acquired taste.
Served in a Sherry glass, it tastes like a strong wine, but with a lot of subtleties that I’ve come to appreciate. The flavours vary depend on the type of Sherry you’re consuming, so I would recommend trying the spectrum and seeing what type suits your taste buds.
Fino: Driest and most pale of the traditional varieties.
Manzanilla: Very light variety.
Amontillado: Dark, naturally dry, and aged under flor yeast.
Oloroso: Dark and rich flavours. The booziest of the group with between 18%-20% alcohol.
Cream: A blend of various sherries typically including Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.
The men of this blog know my fondness for this wine as I’ve been extolling its virtues to them with my best Frasier Crane impressions. Needless to say, some of them have really taken to it.When I began to snoop online however, I discovered a whole new world of Sherry: cocktails!
As fate would have it, our very own Sebastian Ortega presented me with one of the most thoughtful birthday gifts: Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best Kept Secret! What a true friend.
Here are three delicious recipes I came across:
This sophisticated-looking beauty was created by bartender Hugo Ensslin at the Hotel Wallick in Times Square in the early 20th century.
It’s very reminiscent of a Manhattan in its composition. The original recipe calls for rye, but I substituted bourbon to make it a bit more sweet.
A beautiful cocktail to serve to guests or sip by a fire.
1 ¼ oz amontillado Sherry
1 ¼ oz bourbon
½ oz cognac
2 dashes Angosutra bitters
Add all the ingredients, minus the garnish, to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir well. Strain into a coupe and garnish with the lemon peel.
A whole egg mixed with wine? Are you insane? Yes, but that’s not the point.
This is a delicious, unique, and well-balanced cocktail that was a favourite among the men of this blog. Great for the Holidays or as a dessert after a filling meal.
2 oz oloroso Sherry
½ oz simple syrup
1 whole egg
Add the sherry, simple syrup, and egg to a mixing glass. Dry-shake, then add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a small wineglass and top with grated nutmeg.
More or less the official summer drink of Andalusia, this cocktail transformed my expectations of Sherry. It’s a light, refreshing drink perfect for the patio season. The original recipe called for fino, but I substituted it for oloroso which gave it a sweeter taste and brighter colour.
2 oz oloroso Sherry
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz lime juice
2 mint leaves
Lemon and lime wheels
Add the mint and simple syrup to a mixing glass and lightly muddle. Add the sherry, lemon and lime juices, and ice. Shake and strain into a tall Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with the citrus wheels and a sprig of mint.
Sherry can stand on its own. I love sipping it as a digestif and am becoming more and more appreciative of the different varieties.
But it’s so much more than a single note. This is a complex wine that not only stands on its own, but makes for some truly unique and delicious cocktails.
I hope you give it a chance. Not only will you become sophisticated like the Crane brothers, but you’ll discover a whole new element in your cocktail repertoire. One that demands refinement and appreciation.