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.

Prop styling by Richie Owings for Halley Rescoures. Food styling by Susan Ottaviano for Halley Resources. Glasses: Courtesy of Spiegelau, available at Riedelusa.net. Photography by Charles Masters.
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.
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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.
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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; vinopoliswineshop.com
La Garrocha Fino / This easygoing sherry hints at salty nuts and fresh citrus aromas and is best served cold. $13; spanishtablewines.com
Marques de Rodil Palo Cortado / Notes of butter pecan and caramel apples pave the way for a dry, nutty finish and healthy acidity. $40; klwines.com
Obispo Gascon Palo Cortado / This smoky, spiced powerhouse has a lingering finish. $42; tintofino.com
I Think Manzanilla / Umami-rich flavors like shiitake mushroom and toasted sesame stand out in this yeastier-than-usual Manzanilla. $17; tintofino.com
—Adam Erace
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