Sherry: Versatility and Application to Summer Cocktails

sherries
sherries

All photos by Josh Powell.

As most of us are already aware, Sherry is a couple of years into experiencing its revival. Cocktail bars across the globe have adapted the Spanish fortified wine onto their lists with great success, mainly because of the range and great versatility that comes with it. From the dry Manzanilla and Fino through to the aged Oloroso and Palo Cortado and the sweet dessert sherry like Pedro Ximenez, there is a style to suit all kinds of cocktails.

Now that summer seems to be rearing up, cocktails are flying out over the bar tops as a means to refresh and invigorate and what better way to show the true versatility of this Spanish offering than a list of great sherry influenced cocktails?

First up on the list is a classic Rebujito which some people may know as a "Sherry Collins." A Rebujito is a very traditional Spanish drink featuring dry sherry - Fino, fresh lemon juice, sugar and soda water. Sometimes

Rebujito
Rebujito

fresh mint and orange are added to give a little extra dimension to the drink. Nowadays we see a lot of the younger crowds in Spain sat at their tables with large pitchers of Fino and Sprite. Some believe this to be cheating and it has become known as "

Rebujito a la Pobre

" or "Poor Man's Rebujito."

Rebujito

  • 50ml/1.7 oz Palomino Fino such as Gonzalez-Byass Tio Pepe
  • 20ml/.7 oz Fresh Lemon juice
  • 12.5ml/.4 oz Simple syrup

Shake the ingredients up and pour over crushed ice in a Collins or Curved Highball glass. Top up with soda water and garnish however you wish, be it mint, fresh fruit or a combination of both. The Fino works extremely well with the citrus flavours and makes for a greatly refreshing drink. This drink is also an excellent palate cleanser.

sanlucar martini
sanlucar martini

The next drink is a Sanlúcar Martini, named for Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the Spanish coastal town where Manzanilla sherry is produced. Being by the sea, the salt in the air imparts a slight saltiness to the grapes which affords Manzanilla further protection under an EU Appellation meaning it can only be produced there.

Sanlúcar Martini

  • 50 ml/1.7 oz Manzanilla Sherry such as De Soto or La Goya
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Orange Brandy liqueur, such as Ponche 
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Stir the ingredients up with large ice. The key here is to chill faster without adding too much dilution. If this is not achieved then the drink becomes far too thin! Pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with an Apple slice. I picked apple rather than orange to further compliment some of the apple and citrus tones that come from the Manzanilla. This is a lovely dry Aperitif style drink, perfect before a meal.

Now for the Negronado. For those that love the complex bitter notes of a Negroni, this twist will be perfect for you. This drink features Amontillado, a sherry that experiences a unique influence from its Solera aging,

negronado
negronado

taking on some of the characteristics of the wood. Although still dry, the sherry becomes brown in colour from the oxidization and features some great vanilla notes.

Negronado

  • 25 ml/.85 oz Dry Gin, such as Tanqueray
  • 25 ml/.85 oz Amontillado such as Viña AB
  • 25 ml/.85 oz Aperol

Stir the ingredients well with large ice and strain over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Although a little sweeter than a traditional Negroni, the flavours work really well together. I've used Aperol as I think that its more orange characteristics compliment the vanilla tones of the sherry better than the grapefruit notes of Campari.

The next drink is one that is featured on my menu at

Bar44

. I was inspired to combine the complex roasted

seville cortadita
seville cortadita

nut and caramel flavours of Palo Cortado with the flavour of Seville oranges. I knew that the drink needed to have a great mouthfeel to it so I chose to include the Seville orange flavour in the form of marmalade. Palo Cortado is seen as being between Amontillado and a light Oloroso in flavour.

Seville Cortadita

  • 37.5 ml/1.25 oz  Vanilla Vodka, such as Smirnoff
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Palo Cortado such as Leonor or Monteagudo
  • 5 ml/.17 ozFresh Lemon juice
  • 5 ml/.17 oz Simple syrup
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz  Orange juice
  • 3 teaspoons Seville Orange marmalade

It is important to use a good Seville marmalade because the bitter flavours work so much better with the sherry than, say, that of a mixed orange marmalade like Golden Shred. Shake all the ingredients up well with ice and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Flame an orange crisp across the top and drop in.

The last two drinks on this list are made with sweeter dessert style sherries. One is made with Moscatel and is a dry, but fruity number, whilst the other with Pedro Ximenez is more of a digestif style drink.

My sherry amor
My sherry amor

Moscatel is a gorgeously smooth dessert sherry. Amber in colour, it has silky honey and nectar notes that pair well with citrus and almond cakes.

My Sherry Amor

Shake well with ice and fine strain into a Copita/Sherry glass. Top up with Cava. I've used Tequila Reposado here to bring forth some of the natural sweetness of the Moscatel, and Cava to balance those flavours out with the citrus.

px martini
px martini

Pedro Ximenez or PX is a dark mahogany coloured sherry. It has intense flavours of raisin and dark chocolate and is quite syrupy in texture. It is often described as "Christmas pudding in a glass." Here at Bar44 we use PX in our twist on the classic Espresso Martini.

PX Martini

  • 25 ml/.85 oz  Vodka, such as Reyka, another 2013 NYISC medalist 
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz PX sherry
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Licor 43 Spanish liqueur
  • 1 Fresh shot of Espresso

Shake up well with ice and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the traditional 3 coffee beans, said to be good luck! The darker notes of PX pair well with the coffee and make for an excellent nightcap or end to a meal.

Using sherry in cocktails is a great way to entice those that maybe still have mixed opinions about sherry as a category and get them to step out of their comfort zones a little. With such variety it should be next to impossible to find someone who doesn't love sherry and it's application in modern drinks! Salud!