If you’re unfamiliar with this versatile wine, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a seasoned sherry wine drinker or a complete novice, you’ll find something new to discover. From dry Fino and Manzanilla to sweet Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez, you’ll learn about all the major types of sherry and their unique characteristics. We also share some of our favorite sherry cocktails.
Learn about the different types of sherry and how to enjoy them in various delicious drinks.
What Is Sherry Wine?
Sherry wine is a fortified wine that originates from the Jerez region of southern Spain. The term “sherry” comes from the Anglicized version of the town’s name, Jerez. Wine producers typically use white grapes, such as Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel, to produce different types of sherry.
What sets sherry wine apart from other wines is how it’s made. Winemakers age sherry using a unique process called the solera system, which involves blending young wines with older wines to create a consistent and complex flavor profile. Like any other wine, producers first ferment the wine, and then they fortify it with grape spirit to raise the alcohol level and help preserve it.
Sherry wine can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the type and style. It can be dry and nutty, with flavors of almonds and green apples, or it can be sweet and raisiny, with notes of caramel and figs. The aging process and the type of barrel used for aging can also influence the taste of sherry wine.
Overall, sherry wine is complex and flavorful, offering a range of taste experiences. It’s a great wine to pair with food, as it can complement various dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned wine drinker or just starting, sherry wine is definitely worth exploring.
Types of Sherry Wine
When it comes to sherry wine, you can choose from many different types. Sherry lovers can enjoy this versatile wine in various ways since each type has a unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of sherry you should know about.
1. Dry Sherry
Producers ferment dry sherry to a very low level of residual sugar. It can range from light and crisp to rich and full-bodied and is typically enjoyed as an aperitif. Here are a few examples of dry sherry:
- Fino: A layer of yeast called flor ages this dry sherry. Fino sherry is pale in color and has a delicate, nutty flavor.
- Manzanilla: Similar to Fino, flor ages Manzanilla. However, producers make it in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, giving it a distinctly salty taste.
- Amontillado: This sherry starts as a Fino or Manzanilla, but the flor is intentionally allowed to die off, exposing the wine to oxygen. This gives Amontillado a richer, nuttier flavor.
- Palo Cortado: This rare sherry falls somewhere between an Amontillado and an Oloroso. It has a delicate, nutty flavor with hints of caramel and toffee.
- Oloroso: Sherry producers age this dry sherry without flor, allowing it to oxidize and darken in color. Oloroso has a bold, nutty flavor and a higher alcohol content than other sherry wines.
2. Sweet Sherry
Sweet sherry has a higher residual sugar content, usually achieved by blending the wine with grape juice or mistelle. These sherries can range from medium-sweet to very sweet. Enjoy these following sweet sherries:
- Cream sherry: This sherry is made by blending dry and sweet sherries together. Cream sherry has a smooth, creamy texture and flavors of caramel, toffee, and dried fruits.
- Pedro Ximénez: This sweet sherry is made from the Pedro Ximénez grape, which is dried in the sun to concentrate the sugars before fermentation. Pedro Ximénez sherry has a thick, syrupy texture and flavors of raisins, figs, and chocolate.
3. Cooking Sherry
This type of sherry has salt added to it and is often used in cooking to add flavor to dishes like sauces and marinades.
4. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry wine. It has a complex, tangy flavor that is perfect for dressing salads and marinating meats.
Each type of sherry has its own unique flavor and characteristics, making it a versatile wine that can be enjoyed in several ways. Whether you’re sipping a dry Fino with tapas or using a sweet Pedro Ximénez in a dessert recipe, sherry wine is a deliciously complex addition to any meal or cocktail.
Best Sherry Cocktails
Sherry can balance out other flavors, such as sour or bitter, or add a subtle sweetness. It can also add a nutty, woody, or floral note, depending on the type of sherry used. When making cocktails with sherry, be sure to use a quality sherry that is suitable for mixing.
There are many types of sherry, and each type can play a different role in a cocktail. Fino and Manzanilla sherries are light and delicate, making them ideal for refreshing, low-alcohol cocktails such as spritzes and cobblers.
Oloroso and Amontillado sherries are richer and more full-bodied, with a nutty and caramel-like flavor, making them suitable for bold and complex cocktails such as flips and coladas.
Cream and Pedro Ximénez sherries are sweet and viscous, with a raisin-like flavor, making them suitable for dessert cocktails or as a sweetening agent in other cocktails.
Here are some of the best sherry cocktails you can try:
1. 50/50 Margarita
This twist on a classic margarita replaces tequila with sherry. Combine 1.5 ounces of Manzanilla sherry, 1.5 ounces of lime juice, 1 ounce of Cointreau, and a pinch of salt in a shaker with ice. It’s typically served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass and garnished with a lime wedge. The result is a tangy and complex cocktail with a hint of nuttiness from the sherry.
This classic cocktail perfectly balances sweet and bitter flavors, with sherry as the main ingredient. To make it, mix equal parts sweet vermouth and Fino sherry, add a dash of orange bitters, and garnish with a lemon twist. The result is a smooth, complex cocktail with a slightly sweet and fruity flavor.
3. Apple Garibaldi
This cocktail is a refreshing combination of flavors, perfect for a hot summer day. Add 1.5 ounces of Manzanilla sherry, 3 ounces of apple cider, and 3 ounces of ginger beer to a glass filled with ice. Stir well and garnish with a slice of apple.
A refreshing cocktail that’s ideal for a summer day, the Bamboo is a simple blend of sherry and dry vermouth. Stir 2 ounces of Fino or Manzanilla sherry with 1 ounce of dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters. Garnish with a lemon twist or a slice of cucumber.
Butchertown is a boozy and complex cocktail with the nutty flavor of sherry and the smokiness of mezcal. To make it, combine 1.5 ounces of Oloroso sherry, 0.5 ounces of mezcal, 0.5 ounces of sweet vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters in a shaker with ice. Stir well and strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange twist. This rich and complex cocktail is perfect for sipping on a cool fall evening.
6. Coco En Rama
This cocktail features a unique ingredient — coconut water. Mix together 1.5 ounces of Fino sherry, 1.5 ounces of coconut water, 0.75 ounces of fresh lime juice, and 0.5 ounces of simple syrup. Shake well with ice and strain into a tall glass with crushed ice. Add a lime wedge as a garnish. The result is a tropical cocktail with a slightly tart and nutty flavor.
7. Fino Swizzle
This refreshing cocktail blends tropical flavors with sherry and honey. In a shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of Fino sherry, 1 ounce of pineapple juice, 0.5 ounces of lime juice, and 0.5 ounces of honey syrup. Shake well and strain into a tall glass with crushed ice, garnished with a mint sprig. The result is a light and fruity cocktail with a slightly nutty flavor from the sherry.
8. Italian Bird
The Italian Bird is a simple and elegant sherry cocktail that’s delightful on any occasion. Combine 1 ounce of gin, 1 ounce of dry vermouth, 1 ounce of grapefruit juice, and 0.5 ounce of Amontillado sherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. The Italian Bird is slightly bitter and citrusy, perfect for sipping before or after a meal.
9. La Perla
The La Perla is a sophisticated sherry cocktail that’s perfect for those who enjoy a more complex drink. Mix together 1 ounce of tequila, 1 ounce of pear liqueur, and 1 ounce of Manzanilla sherry. Stir with ice and strain into a glass. The result is a sweet and savory cocktail.
10. Pedro Suckerpunch
This is a sweet and indulgent dessert cocktail. In a shaker with ice, combine 1.5 ounces of Pedro Ximénez sherry, 1 ounce of vodka, 0.5 ounces of lime juice, and 0.25 ounces of syrup. Shake and strain into a glass with crushed ice and garnish with a lime wheel.
This cocktail is popular in Spain and perfect for a hot day. Light and refreshing, this cocktail has a slightly sweet and herbal flavor. Combine 2 parts Fino sherry with 1 part lemon-lime soda. Add ice and fresh mint, and serve.
12. Sherry Cobbler
This classic cocktail is simple yet refreshing, featuring Oloroso sherry and fruit. In a shaker, muddle orange slices and berries with 1 ounce of syrup. Add 2 ounces of Oloroso sherry and shake with ice. Strain the mixture into a glass of crushed ice, then garnish with fruit and serve. The result is a fruity cocktail that satisfies on a summer day.
13. Sherry Colada
This twist on the classic Piña Colada uses sherry instead of rum for a nutty flavor. To make it, blend 1.5 ounces of Amontillado sherry, 2 ounces of pineapple juice, 1 ounce of coconut cream, 0.5 ounces of lime juice, and a cup of ice until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry.
14. Sherry Flip
Sherry Flip is a creamy cocktail with the nutty flavor of sherry and the richness of egg yolk. It’s comforting during the cold weather months. To make it, combine 2 ounces of Oloroso sherry, 1 ounce of heavy cream, 1 egg yolk, 0.5 ounces of syrup, and a dash of nutmeg in a shaker without ice. Shake vigorously to emulsify the ingredients. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a glass and garnish with more nutmeg.
15. Sketches of Spain
Named after the famous Miles Davis album, this citrusy and herbaceous cocktail highlights the nutty flavor of sherry. In a shaker with ice, combine 1.5 ounces of Oloroso sherry, 0.5 ounces of gin, 0.5 ounces of green Chartreuse, 0.5 ounces of lime juice, and 0.25 ounces of syrup. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
16. Tootsie Roll
The Tootsie Roll is a nostalgic and decadent sherry cocktail that’s perfect for those who enjoy a sweeter drink after dinner. It’s made with 1.5 ounces of Pedro Ximénez sherry, 1 ounce of amaro, and 0.5 ounces of orange liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass, and garnish with grated milk chocolate.
Sherry Wine FAQs
If you’re new to sherry wine, you may have many questions about this fortified wine. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about sherry, along with their answers:
1. Is Sherry Sweet or Dry?
Sherry can be sweet and dry, depending on the type. Fino and Manzanilla are dry sherries, while Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez are sweet.
2. How Is Sherry Different From Wine?
Sherry is a fortified wine, meaning it’s made by adding a distilled spirit, usually brandy, to wine. This gives sherry its unique flavor and character.
3. How to Drink Sherry?
Depending on the type, sherry can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature or slightly warmed. Generally, dry sherries like Fino and Manzanilla are served chilled, while sweet sherries like Pedro Ximénez are served at room temperature or slightly warmed.
4. What Glasses Do You Serve Sherry In?
Traditionally, sherry is served in small, tulip-shaped glasses called copitas. These glasses allow you to appreciate the aromas and flavors of the wine.
5. What Pairs With Sherry?
Sherry is a versatile wine that pairs well with various foods. Dry sherries like Fino and Manzanilla pair well with seafood, while Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez pair well with cheese, desserts, and even chocolate.
6. How Should Sherry Be Stored?
Sherry should be stored in a cool, dark place away from light and heat. Once opened, it should be consumed within a few weeks.
7. Can You Mix Sherry With Anything?
Absolutely! Sherry makes an excellent base for cocktails and can be mixed with many other ingredients, including fruit juices, liqueurs, and bitters.
8. How Long Can I Keep an Opened Sherry?
Once opened, sherry should be consumed within a few weeks. To help prolong its shelf life, store it in the refrigerator with a stopper or cork in place.
Explore the World of Sherry Wine and Cocktail Recipes With Marketview Liquor
Cheers to your newfound knowledge of sherry wine — from learning about the different types of sherry to discovering delicious sherry cocktails, you now better understand this versatile and complex fortified wine. Marketview Liquor offers an extensive selection of sherries to include in your next cocktail party or dinner. Find a sherry that suits your taste and budget.