Sherry is a fortified wine like Madeira and Port that is produced in Spain primarily from a white grape, the Palomino. It can be dry as with the Fino and Manzanilla styles or sweet like Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez. Sherry is experiencing a resurgence these days and has become a common ingredient in craft cocktails because of the different elements that it brings. “You can use sherry in cocktails to add saltiness, sweetness, or umami and sometimes all of those things.” Says Michael Maller, the beverage director at Mateo Bar de Tapas in Durham, North Carolina.
Jayce McConnell at Edmund’s Oast in Charleston, South Carolina has been on a mission to educate people about the virtues of sherry. He has added five sherries to his wine list and in December, Edmund’s Oast Chef Reid Henninger and McConnell teamed up to present a sherry tasting dinner with five courses paired with five different sherries as a way to showcase their growing sherry collection.
“I’m really into using sherry as a cocktail component because of its diverse nature. You can use it as a base for a cocktail and have it take center stage or you can use it as a small modifier that can add a subtle complexity and dry out an unbalanced, overly sweet drink,” said Jayce.
For his cocktail Party Smasher, Jayce roasts fresh strawberries in a sherry and demerara sugar mixture that he purees and combines with aged rum, dry Manzanilla sherry and lime juice ideal for a sophisticated strawberry-sherry blend.
Julian Goglia, Brooks Cloud and Chef Mike Blydenstein of Pinewood in Decatur, Georgia have opened their newest venture, The Mercury in Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia. At The Mercury they present classic American dishes like Caesar salads prepared tableside and a Dungeness Crab Louie Salad alongside classic cocktails. Barman Goglia combines sherry with one of their specialty bar syrups Proof Pecan and rum. ”We created the Keelhauler as an homage to early American drinking culture. At one time, our country was one of the largest importers of sherry, and rum was a powerful economic engine. Our own Proof Pecan brings out the nuttiness of the Oloroso Sherry, while the lime, ginger, and allspice bring a fun aromatic pop to the table.” With eight classifications of sherry styles, there are plenty to try. So start sipping to find your new spring favorite and be a part of the sherry resurgence.