There’s nothing like a cocktail or two to get everyone in the mood for a party. While purists might argue that mixing Sherry with other ingredients is a waste of good wine, Sherry cocktails have been around since the 17th century. There were simple blends with vermouth and/or bitters (Adonis); or raw egg and sugar (Sherry Flip); colourful cobblers of sugar, fruit and ice; and, my favourite, a take on the Bloody Mary substituting sherry for vodka (Blood Transfusion). While these sound historically interesting, mixology has come a long way in the last century, and here are my versions of the best Sherry cocktails I’ve tasted in Sydney restaurants. All recipes serve 1, but feel free to multiply; and if you like things a little sweeter, add a touch more sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water).
Rebujito is a popular Spanish drink of Sherry mixed with soft drink. It seems Frank Camorra couldn’t quite bring himself to do that, as the version I had at MoVida Sydney was 75ml Palo Cortado Sherry, 30ml lemon juice and 15ml Crawley’s sugar syrup over crushed ice with a dash of soda, served with a straw.
Jerez Sour Tapavino
Traditional sours contain citrus, a sweetener, and often egg white. This easy classic is great with Tapavino’s simple tapas: shake 45ml Medium Sweet Oloroso blend Sherry, 60ml lemon juice, 15ml Licor 43, 15ml Crawley’s sugar syrup and 1 egg white over ice and strain into a sugar-rimmed glass.
Jerez Hit Mercado
The Jerez Fix at Mercado uses house-made rhubarb cordial – I use pomegranate molasses for a similar sweet/sour note. Shake 45ml Amontillado Sherry, 45ml gin, 15ml lemon juice, 10ml Crawley’s sugar syrup and 10ml pomegranate molasses over ice and strain into a martini glass.
Enigma Momofuku Seiobo (closed)
When Ambrose Chiang was sommelier at Momofuku Seiobo, his complex Sherry cocktail aged for 6 weeks (enigmatic indeed!). Here’s my simplified version: combine 30ml Fino Sherry, 10ml each fortified white muscat (e.g. Rivesaltes), Chartreuse, white rum agricole and lime cordial, add 75ml dry riesling and a strip of lime peel. Serve on the rocks.
Grandma’s Little Helper Bishop Sessa (closed)
A little of what gets Grandma through the day, says restaurateur Erez Gordon. Muddle a sprig of mint with 30ml lemon juice, add 45ml Manzanilla Sherry, 30ml each bergamot liqueur, peach schnapps, dry vermouth and 1 egg white and shake like Grandma’s booty at her grandson’s wedding. Serve in a tea cup garnished with mint.