This month's Sherry Broad hails from Chicago, Illinois. You can find her preaching the Sherry gospel at Sable Kitchen & Bar. From her first sip behind the bar at her first bartending gig, to being the first runner-up in the 2015 Sherry Cocktail Competition, Jessica's love of Sherry runs deep. Later this year, thanks to her great success at the competition, she'll be joining Steve Olson, aka wine geek's, highly-coveted trade trip through Jerez where she'll get to experience the magic first-hand.
1) When did you fall in love with Sherry?
Jessica Lambert: I liked Sherry immediately, but I didn't truly start to understand it, or fall in love with it until I moved to Chicago. There's a small community here that embraces Sherry to its fullest. I was fortunate to attend some industry events where I met like minded people who loved Sherry was much as I did. Taking their recommendations of travel, Sherry bars, and reading material, I fell down the rabbit hole even deeper. There's really no turning back at this point.
2) Why do you love it?
JL: It's versatility! There's really nothing out there that you can enjoy by the glass paired with courses, or in cocktails. And speaking of cocktails, it shines even more as a base spirit or a modifier. It pairs beautifully with pretty much everything! I'm also completely mesmerized by the passion, and history behind Sherry. It's romantic. A labor of love for centuries. There's a bit of mystery to it.
3) Who introduced you to Sherry?
JL: I first tried Sherry in an Artist's Special at my first cocktail bar I worked at. The flavor stuck out immediately. It was distinct, nutty, but still dry. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before, and I was hooked! Looking back on some of my first cocktail recipes, I put sherry in everything....or at least I tried to! I guess not much has changed. :)
4) What makes a Sherry cocktail special or different than other cocktails?
JL: Sherry can completely transform a cocktail.! It can add depth and complexity, dryness, salinity, or sweetness without adding actual acid, or actual sugars. It plays so well with others ( spirits), and can amplify interesting flavor notes and aromatics from other spirits and liqueurs. Again, so versatile! It can be an amazing aperitif for someone who is looking for a more low proof cocktail option. Just like a dash of Angostura bitters, Sherry just makes everything better.
5) Who is your favorite person to drink Sherry with?
JL: I would have to say my roommates Laura Kelton & Elizabeth Mickiewicz. We are all so busy, and hardly see each other, but our fridge is always stocked with Sherry. It's something that brings us together, and we share little sherry shots or a small glass when we find each other all at home together. We have a list of house rules and #6 is "Sherry is an acceptable breakfast." That may or may not actually happen sometimes.
6) What’s your best Sherry cocktail?
JL: The Que Buena Pinta (recipe here)
7) What would your perfect Sherry night be?
JL: Anywhere there is good Sherry, small bites, and great company. Pretty much anywhere Steve Olson is pouring Sherry!
Make sure you stop by Sable next time you’re in the Chicago area to taste her Que Buena Pinta as made by it’s creator. Thanks, Jess!
18 February 2016