Sherry Be Right
Dust off the bottle of sherry at the far reaches of the liquor store and mix that ancient elixir back into vogue.
While many of us might have snuck our first sip of sherry from a dusty bottle in our parent’s liquor cabinet (and instantly regretted it), today’s bartending gurus use the fortified wine to sweeten drinks without adding sugar, to maintain dry profiles, and to add a touch of nostalgia to new concoctions.
“Sherry is Spanish gold, right up there with saffron, and is really underrated in Asia,” says mixologist extraordinaire Marek Wo Vojcarcik. “However, an influential new wave of bartenders such as Michael Callahan, Neil Rivington, and Ryan Nightingale are increasingly using this beauty of Spain in their cocktails.”
Vojcarcik leans towards lighter white sherries when mixing with gins, mezcals, piscos, and blended scotch. “A great combination for me is a classic pisco sour with a touch of sherry made of Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel, which is sweeter and full-bodied. Aged in Oloroso barrels, it’s perfect to add on top of the pisco’s creamy head to give a bit more wine richness to the cocktail.”
“When I’m back in the US or visiting Europe or Australia, I’ll frequently run into a selection or two on the cocktail menu with a sherry component,” says Bangkok-based ‘mixsultant’ Joseph Boroski. “This is significantly less common in Thailand, although sherry is showing up more often in a select number of venues in Bangkok, including Sugar Ray, Vesper, and Quince.” Boroski often hand-carries his favourite sherries home from travel, to use in his bars in Bangkok and Hong Kong, where there is no menu and cocktails are crafted on an individual basis.
“I recently created a rather wet martini, stirring Hendrick’s gin, a Manzanilla sherry—which is a bit lighter than a Fino—and a touch of Peychauds bitters over ice and finishing in a chilled martini glass with a lemon twist and a drop of toasted pumpkin seed oil.”
“I like putting sherry into cocktails because it adds another dimension to the drink, whether it be a nice dry tone with a Fino or a pleasant creaminess and raisin tone like a Pedro Ximénez,” says Ricky Paiva, mixologist and Bacardi-Martini ambassador for Singapore. “They are great with both strong spirited drinks or even with some citrus. I feel that you are starting to see more sherry cocktails coming in but with more good sherry readily available in Singapore, we will definitely be seeing a lot more soon.”