Yes, if you haven’t heard: the first somewhat obscure alcoholic drink du jour of 2013 is Sherry. In most folks’ minds, the humble fortified wine is that cooking thing you keep in the cabinet and splash on meats or risottos.
But I’m not here to demystify the Sherry. I’m here to help you hop on the bandwagon with gin driving and your new best friend Sherry seated shotgun.
So what kind of drinks can we mix up?
Alaska + 1
While we’ve previously covered the Alaska Cocktail on this site, you might not realize that there are a couple of variations on it. I’m not in sleuthing mode, so let’s just say the origins are muddy but some variation of this recipe has floated around cocktail blogs for some time.
The Alaska #2 Cocktail
4 parts gin
1 part green chartreuse
1 part dry sherry [such as a Manzanilla or the like]
Shake w/ ice and Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with no garnish.
This drink is somewhat martini like, and the green chartreuse is powerful. But I think that the Dry Sherry provides a nice counter note, and it has more power than vermouth. Overall, you’re still going to be tasting a lot of chartreuse, but the dry sherry adds a nice, moderating sweetness to the cocktail.
Put on your Finest
This is the best known and perhaps most famous of the Sherry + Gin cocktails. Dating back to the Waldorf-Astoria bar, the Tuxedo club dates to a time of modest, but wealthy way of life in the late 19th century.
The Tuxedo Cocktail
2 parts gin
1 part dry sherry
1 dash Amer Picon [orange bitters will do in a pinch]
Shake w/ ice and strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish required.
Another “martini” type drink. Fans of stiffer martinis might appreciate the tuxedo with the ratio dialed down a notch. Sherry in this quantity adds a nice note. I didn’t have any Amer Picon, so I used Orange Bitters, but purportedly folks if you can find them, the Amer Picon really makes this drink.
A Renaissance of Sorts [for Sherry]
Well let’s close with something that’s a bit more out there. You’re going to see the familiar “martini” style relationship between gin and sherry, but this one adds something not often seen in the world of juniper spirits and fortified wines. That’s right: cream.
3 parts gin
1 part dry sherry
2 tsbp. half and half [a lighter cream]
Shake w/ ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Sprinkle the top w/ a dash of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a dash of powdered allspice. Basically you want a total of one shake of mixed baking spice.
Well it’s creamy, it’s rich. And it’s somewhat unexpected. Sherry and baking spices are great companions, and if you break out a really nice contemporary gin that embraces those kind of earthy kitchen-at-Christmas sort of moments, you’re going to be on a winning path.
Alright folks, there you have it. 3 suggestions for drinks to make that take advantage of the season’s trendiest alcohol. But don’t just use these recipes rote. Take advantage of Sherry’s similarity to vermouth and experiment with it in your usual martini recipe. Or substitute it for dry vermouth in other drinks. Dare I say, I think it does some good things.
Stay tuned in the future. I’m going to pick up some sherry and start putting things to the test.