In the latest issue of Fine Cooking, Tara Q. Thomas demystifies sherry and recommends some food pairings. Coincidentally, last week I was enjoying my own demystification process (and a lot of food) in Jerez, Spain while visiting several sherry bodegas with a group of journalists and some of America’s top bartenders.
Sherry has become a bartender’s new favorite ingredient in cocktails both classic and creative. They are rediscovering the fortified wine and finding use for it in low-alcohol cocktails, vintage drinks like the Bamboo Cocktail, or in new drinks of their own creation along with ingredients like berry vinegar syrup and artichoke aperitif. (These are both better than they sound.)
You don’t need any unusual mixers to make a great sherry drink though. One of the most popular drinks in the early days of America was the Sherry Cobbler. Its basic form is sherry with sugar, served over ice with a fruit and berry garnish. Most recipes recommend muddling an orange into the drink or adding orange juice.
Refined versions of the Sherry Cobbler call for a touch of brandy or orange liqueur instead of orange juice and sugar. Tradition dictates that you serve the drink with a straw: When ice was a new cocktail ingredient but dentistry was rather primitive, the straw became a popular new tool for moving the cold liquids past sensitive teeth.
Also, it keeps the garnish from poking you in the eye.
3 fl. oz. sherry (fino, amontillado, oloroso- any sherry but Pedro Ximenez)
2 orange slices or .5 fl. oz. of orange juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on the sweetness of the sherry
Additional orange slices and berries for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well (if you’ve added orange slices to the shaker, shaking the drink will juice the oranges for you) and pour the contents into a goblet. Start with a half teaspoon of sugar and add more and shake again if the drink isn't sweet enough. Garnish with orange slices and berries- and don’t forget the straw!