Contrary to popular belief, Sherry is perfect throughout the year and is so versatile you could say that there is a Sherry for every occasion. And to prove it, here are a few ideas to inspire you at home this winter with a wonderful, warming drop, or two.
1. The Ultimate Aperitif
Keep a bottle of dry Fino or Manzanilla Sherry chilled in the fridge and you'll always be ready for unexpected guests. These young, pale, dry styles of Sherry have incredible savouriness and are guaranteed to get your mouth watering. They're delicious with all kinds of light bites and canapes, especially with salty foods like smoked salmon blinis, a bowl of nuts, top quality Spanish jamon or just a simple dish of olives. Serve a generous measure, like you would any white wine, in a decent-sized wine glass and your guests will be very appreciative.
And, a splash of chilled, dry Fino Sherry will boost your cooking every time, having a bottle ready to go is a great addition to loads of dishes you are creating in the kitchen - use it in any cream or velouté sauce for fish and chicken to give that extra touch of tastiness. Whilst we are on the subject of Sherry and cooking…
2. Chef's Magic Ingredient
…Amontillado is also a great drink to have close to hand when you are cooking. Waitrose has some great recipes on its site (which includes a handy shopping list), such as slow cooked leg of lamb with Amontillado or Roasted Chicken with Sherry, Artichokes and Pancetta, which use this medium, more nutty style of Sherry to bring richness to your autumn cooking. Sainsbury’s also has a great Sherry and Mushroom recipe and recommended glugging a shot of Amontillado into the gravy to give it an extra kick – yum!
3. Sherry Loves Food
If you are entertaining, get the party going with a drink that will surprise and delight. A glass of Palo Cortado, dry Oloroso or Amontillado are wonderful when passing round the nibbles. Served slightly chilled, to warm those chilly nights, the rich, nutty, savoury flavours are guaranteed to intrigue and enchant your guests. On top of that, these distinctive flavours go really well with the kind of canapés traditionally served at this time of year. They're great with the herbiness of a quality cocktail sausage or the sweet and salt of 'devils on horseback' - there is no end to what this fuller-flavoured, darker, aged Sherry goes with.
Here are just a few pairings that we can recommend that match well with some of the great nibbles you can find in the shops:
- Sushi and Fino
- Oloroso and Meast Feast Pizza
- Spicy samosas and Amontillado
- Chocolate florentines and Cream Sherry
- Cheese board with dried fruits and Palo Cortado or Cream Sherry
For something sweeter, towards the end of a meal, try soaking some juicy sultanas in Pedro Ximenez (PX) Sherry and pour them over a really good vanilla ice-cream. If you fancy something festive and fruity, try poaching pears or peaches in sweet Cream sherry and serving it with unctuous mascarpone. And Sherry should go in your glass as well as in the trifle. If you don’t have time to make one, ready-made Sherry Trifle is widely available.
Just as Sherry is not only for drinking, you don’t have to feed your fruit cake with just whisky. Why not try Sherry? It’s less alcoholic and perhaps more palatable. The sweetness of a good Cream or PX Sherry is guaranteed to add an extra dimension to your festive fruit cake this year - give it a whirl.
4. Delicious Sherry cocktails
Sherry is making a real comeback in all the trendiest bars round the world - especially as a component of a great cocktail. You too can mix up a sherry storm at home with a bottle of Oloroso or Cream Sherry to hand.
The Sherry Cobbler – so simple to make it’s probably not even a cocktail! Grab any well-known dark Cream Sherry from your nearest retailer and some fresh oranges. Place ice cubes in a tumbler, drop in a slice of orange and pour about 3oz/80-100ml of cream Sherry over the top. Muddle the orange with Sherry and enjoy.
Sherry twist on a Rob Roy – as whisky is aged in old Sherry casks you can imagine that the two blend well together in a cocktail. For this simple, yet warming mix, replace the traditional sweet vermouth used with a sweetened Oloroso. Mix 2oz/60ml of a good blended whisky with 1oz/30ml of sweet Oloroso and two dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist or orange or lemon.
If you have a bottle of dry Sherry ready-to-go in the fridge, add a splash to a spicy Bloody Mary for an extra layer of flavour, or to a gin and tonic for another flavour boost.
There are lots more Sherry cocktail recipes on our website using all types of Sherries from Manzanilla to PX, simply explore to find the right one for you.
5. The Original Gift
Whether under the Christmas tree, or for birthdays throughout the year, surprise the ones you love with a bottle of Sherry - especially for those who love whisky but perhaps want a bottle of something a bit different to unwrap. There are so many Sherries to choose from and for a special occasion look for VOS or VORS on the bottle. These wines are aged for a mimum of 20 and 30 years respectively, but most for much longer. They are also very rewarding to enjoy because a little goes a long way on the flavour front.
If you're not sure which to choose, then always ask your local wine merchant - these merry men and women of the wine industry love Sherry and always have a fantastic selection available. You can also find a good range of fine, rare and aged Sherries at Waitrose, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and The Wine Society, among others.
Tip: Be original and buy a bottle of rare, aged Sherry for Christmas Day
28 November 2018