Sherry has unfortunately gained a bit of reputation as an old person drink. But there’s more to the fortified wine than the sticky sweet stuff your grandmother sips while watching Matlock. Sherry comes in a range of styles, from briny Manzanilla to funky umami-packed amontillado to decadently rich oloroso. Plus, it’s not just for sipping. Sherry is a fantastic way to put a twist on classic cocktails too. So forget everything you thought you knew about sherry from all those Frasier episodes and get to know the real thing.
The History of Sherry
Spain (or what came to be Spain) has been a center for winemaking for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the 13th century that something starting to resemble sherry was first created, thanks to the introduction of the Moorish art of distillation. Even then, sherry or “sack” as the British called it, wasn’t at all like it is today. In the 17th century sherry evolved into something a bit more familiar when winemakers saw just how well palomino grapes did in the region’s chalky soil. They called the wine “fino” because it was incredibly bright, crisp and delicate. Producers also started to really play with yeast and noticed how transformative the ingredient could be.