Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sherry Cocktail

Making good on a threat from a couple of posts ago, I present the Sherry Cocktail. In 1934, the Sherry Cocktail was reckoned by bartender and author Barney Burke to be the 13th most famous cocktail in the world. (Man, did that go the way of all flesh.) If made with dry sherry, it’s light, modern and easy to drink. It would be a good item to serve before lunch or dinner instead of a Martini, like when you have someone over who only drinks wine. (I have met such people though I do not find them easy to understand.)

Burke’s Sherry Cocktail in his Complete Cocktail & Drinking Recipes calls for 2 ounces sherry, 3 dashes dry vermouth and 4 dashes orange bitters. And at the beginning of the book, he defines his dash as three drops. So nine drops of dry vermouth? In a glass of sherry and bitters? Really? The CocktailDB came in at a half ounce of vermouth and only 2 dashes orange bitters. That sounded like a recipe you could follow—a drink you could actually make without tossing and turning all night wondering what on earth the man meant. Measuring out nine drops of dry vermouth might give me a complex.

(In the CocktailDB, by way of The Café Royal Cocktail Book, there is also a drink called the Plain Sherry Cocktail. This is sherry with dashes of maraschino and absinthe, which seems less plain than the Sherry Cocktail. Something has been added there but I can’t seem to work out what.)

Sherry Cocktail

  • 2 oz pale sherry (fino is good)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Fee Bros)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I felt like Fee’s orange bitters this time. Regans’ would be be fine, if very different, and Angostura Orange probably too assertive. Notice that I’ve only used a dash. Two dashes trampled the light, bone-dry sherry I used. In any case, it sounds like there’s some latitude with the sherry. Maybe Burke’s was an amontillado, but nobody would’ve tasted even ten drops of dry vermouth in that.

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