Food + Drinks

Oh, Sherry—The Surprising Drink of the Moment

Forget its image as a fireside sipper: The long-overlooked Spanish import is invigorating wine lists and even cocktail menus from coast to coast.

Smart sommeliers and bartenders are discovering the refined pleasures of high-end sherries that taste nothing like the syrupy stereotype. Truth is, the fortified wine, made from white grapes grown in and around the Spanish town of Jerez, comes in a spectrum of sophisticated styles.

If you like: Champagne
Try: Manzanilla
This seaside-aged wine has flavors of fresh bread and flowers that pair perfectly with chilled lobster and olives.

If you like: Chardonnay
Try: Palo Cortado
The rarest of sherries has a velvety body and shortbread and butterscotch flavors that are a fine match for dishes like roasted salmon.

If you like: Pinot Noir
Try: Oloroso
Extravagant, fruity aromas mingle with smoky textures in this hearty sherry that is at home with braised short ribs.

If you like: Sauvignon Blanc
Try: Amontillado
A voluptuous body underscores this wine's lively acidity, especially when it's served with seared foie gras.

If you like: Pinot Grigio
Try: Fino
This pale, dry style packs a crowd-pleasing punch alongside grilled vegetables.

• • •

How to Mix It

Bow & Truss, Los Angeles
At this North Hollywood hot spot, blond Fino and organic Vida mezcal give the Vida de Passion—a foamy, clementine-colored refresher—its crisp, biting backbone, while tangy passion fruit, honey, lemon, and bitters temper the drink to a warm glow.

The Whale Wins, Seattle
The bartenders at this cottagelike restaurant swap vermouth for La Guita Manzanilla sherry, giving their Zetter Martini, made with Captive Spirits Big Gin, a subtle floral vibe offset by an anchovy-stuffed olive and Meyer-lemon-peel-confit garnishes.

Mateo Bar de Tapas, Durham, North Carolina
The Amontillado elixir known as the Rye Malvado fuses Bodegas Grant's La Garrocha, Redemption Rye, Spanish red vermouth, house-made saffron syrup, and Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate to create a smoky, wicked play on Jim Meehan's Rye Witch.

Barraca, New York City
The essence of juicy summer figs flirts with mineral-rich Manzanilla in the Higos & Vodka at this new West Village paella bar, where fig-infused vodka and sherry are combined with a spiced syrup.

Broken Shaker, Miami
The frothy De La Frontera balances a yuzu-spiked Tio Pepe Fino base with coffee syrup, bitters, and a whole egg, putting a velvety spin on the champagne flip.

• • •

5 Bottles to Try Right Now

Tio Diego Amontillado / Aged for eight years as a Fino prior to oxidation, this almondy wine has an unexpected crispness. $16;

La Garrocha Fino / This easygoing sherry hints at salty nuts and fresh citrus aromas and is best served cold. $13;

Marques de Rodil Palo Cortado / Notes of butter pecan and caramel apples pave the way for a dry, nutty finish and healthy acidity. $40;

Obispo Gascon Palo Cortado / This smoky, spiced powerhouse has a lingering finish. $42;

I Think Manzanilla / Umami-rich flavors like shiitake mushroom and toasted sesame stand out in this yeastier-than-usual Manzanilla. $17;

—Adam Erace

• • •

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Prop styling by Richie Owings for Halley Rescoures. Food styling by Susan Ottaviano for Halley Resources. Glasses: Courtesy of Spiegelau, available at Photography by Charles Masters.
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