Sherry is among the most versatile cocktail ingredients. Central to many 19th-century classics, fortified wine has a history of imparting saltiness, sweetness, and savory layers to cocktails. But while sherry is a beloved staple, for home bartenders its myriad uses tend to be more obscure.
“I think most people outside the industry are a bit afraid of sherry, because all they know about it is [that it’s] sweet and dense,” said New York bartender Natasha Bermúdez. Recently, regarding his use of the ingredient in modern contexts. In fact, while the sherry they can be richer, with notes of nuts or caramel, it can also be completely dry and bring minerality to the table. A wide variety of sherries are available, and the style continues to evolve.
Chantal Tseng, bartender and US Sherry Week ambassador, insists the ingredient can be easy to work into any cocktail. For starters, he suggests looking at how sherry can fit into his favorite classic recipe. “Biologically aged lighter sherry [such as manzanilla or fino] work alongside dry vermouths and lighter spirits like gin, vodka or white tequila, accentuating the salty and herbal elements accordingly,” he explains. At the other end of the spectrum, “Amontillados and Olorosos pair well with sweeter or red vermouths and older liqueurs.” And Pedro Ximénez sherry, rather than simple syrup, is “a beautiful thing” to level up a Daiquiri, according to Tseng.
To further demystify fortified wine, here’s a guide to the most common styles of sherry and how to use them in cocktails.
Fine sherry is stainless, delicate and dry, making it ideal for adding a touch of saltiness to austere drinks such as martini. the Tuxedofor example, swap fino for dry vermouth, while equal parts jungle cocktail he adds it to sweet vermouth and gin to give the Martinez a slightly salty twist. But in addition to the elegant coupé glasses, the fino is also making its way into more compressible formats: in the rebujito, an Andalusian highball, is paired with lemon-lime soda. In another easy-to-drink cocktail, the coconut on the branchthe minerality of the fino is combined with the salty flavor of the coconut water, enhanced with herbaceous vermouth infused with tarragon.
An effortlessly cool drink, the official summer drink of the Jerez region of Spain.
coconut on the branch
An easy-to-drink combination of Sherry Fino, tarragon-infused white vermouth and coconut water.
Manzanilla is equally dry and differs from fine only in its place of origin; Chamomile comes from a cooler region, which gives it more shine. Given the high acidity and salinity of sherry, its presence in cocktails has been compared to “bring a pinch of salt to the table,” says Andrew Meltzer, a San Francisco bartender and fan of the style. Whether it’s to liven up sherry classics, such as turning the Bamboo into a highballor give a cocktail the 50/50 treatment, as in the case of Bermúdez bottom test shot on the daisy, a dose of chamomile is an easy shortcut to complexity. It can also substitute liqueurs, as in our Garibaldi applewhere it amplifies the acidity of green apple juice.
tall bamboo glass
The classic shake becomes a chiller tall with a pour of tonic water.
A split base of mezcal and manzanilla sherry offers a lower ABV version of the classic.
Granny Smith apples star alongside sherry, vermouth and gin.
Amontillado sherry is slightly deeper than Fino and Manzanilla, but lighter than Oloroso, with a more spicy character. For Chip Tyndale’s version of the Bamboo, which splits the vermouth quotient between white and dry expressions, found no need to split the sherry, as amontillado strikes the perfect balance of nuttiness and sweetness that works well against the vermouth’s fruity qualities. The amontillado also serves as a base for Alex Anderson’s version of the Sherry Cobbler. Combined with rich Demerara syrup and citrus, the sherry brings roundness and weight to the recipe, making it our favorite version of several cobblers we blind-tested recently. Amontillado also fits well in modern drinks, such as Romance at Gracelandwhere its slightly nutty character enhances the flavor of the peanut butter washed cognac.
Nutty-flavored Oloroso sherry is fuller-bodied and can replace brown liqueurs in lower-proof versions of the classics. Due to its dessert quality, Oloroso works particularly well in creamy cocktails, such as the sherry jerkor in night drinks like the Sketches of Spain, a Spanish-inspired cocktail that offers a lower grade late night drink. In happier drinks, on the other hand, like Matt Piacentini’s sherry-tinted version of the DaiquiriOloroso adds depth to the recipe, which also sports a more concentrated 2:1 Demerara syrup to match.
One of the original sherry drinks, described as a “very delicious drink” that “gives strength to delicate people”.
Sketches of Spain
A low-alcohol drink with sherry, sweet vermouth and a measure of brandy.
Peter Jimenez It is made from raisined grapes through fractional blending, or the solera process, so each bottle represents a mixed vintage. PX Sherry, as it is known for short, is sweet and sticky and, instead of a base, works well as a sweetener. In the Peter Suckerpunch, for example, substitutes sugar syrup and is balanced with bright lemon juice and bitter espresso liqueur. With its raisin flavor, PX Sherry is also at home alongside the fruity flavors of a Pimm’s Cup, where its nutty character helps bring out the flavor of Maison Premiere. take on the classic towards a winter palate. Fortified wine also lightens the spiritual construction of the happy 4ensuring that the hard-hitting combination of bourbon, rum and peat Scotch whiskey remains “crushable and delicious”.
Pedro Ximenéz sherry brings the sweet touch of an Old-Fashioned to this shaken blend.
A spirited yet “crushable” combination of bourbon, rum, sherry and scotch.