Christmas is just around the corner – and with it comes a chance to indulge in a combination of two of my very favourite things: Sherry and a well-mixed cocktail.
To add a bit of sparkle to your festive celebrations, here’s my pick of the best Sherry cocktails for Christmas.
My favourite cocktail in Vejer, served in the bar at El Califa. It was created by owner James Stuart for the first ever International Sherry Week. It’s a great take on the original mojito, and less alcoholic too.
- 50 ml Fino
- 50 ml Amontillado
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Large handful of fresh mint
- 2 drops of Angostura bitters
- Soda water
- Crushed ice
Suggested glass: Large tumbler
- Chop the lime into 8 wedges and muddle in the glass with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Add handful of fresh mint and muddle gently.
- Add both Sherries and fill glass with crushed ice.
- Add the bitters and top up with soda water.
- Stir with cocktail spoon.
- Serve with straws, lime slice and mint sprig.
The Golden Boy
Sommelier Lucas Paya came to lunch recently and whipped up this spectacular Sherry cocktail. He designed The Golden Boy whilst working at The Bazaar in Los Angeles. The addition of gold dust gives this drink a fabulous Christmas splendour.
- 30 ml Amontillado Sherry
- Half a tablespoon of simple syrup*
- 2 drops Angostura bitters
- Pinch of gold dust**
- 150 ml dry Cava
- Lemon twist
Suggested glass: Martini
- Add the first four ingredients to a Martini glass and lightly stir.
- Top up with chilled Cava.
- Garnish with the lemon twist.
(*Simple syrup – boil together one cup sugar and one cup water.)
(**Edible gold dust is available at many baking supply stores.)
Juan el Gallo
I love this cocktail. It was ingeniously served in small bottles with straws at the opening night of Bespoke – a fabulous new wine and Sherry bar in El Puerto de Santa Maria – the creation of Carmen, daughter of the Guiterrez Colosia Sherry House.
- 2 parts Fino Sherry
- 1 part Moscatel Sherry
- 1 part Dry Martini / Vermouth
- 2 parts tonic water
Suggested glass: Small bottle with a straw
- Mix the first three ingredients in a jug and chill.
- When ready to serve, add chilled tonic.
- Pour into bottles and serve with a straw.
- Alternatively, chill filled bottles in an ice bucket.
A rebujito is a Sherry spritzer and is THE drink at Andalucian ferias. Traditionally 7Up or Sprite is used but here we’re adding soda water and sugar syrup. The rebujito evokes the spirit of Andalucian parties.
- 100 ml of Fino Sherry
- 2 lime and 2 lemon slices, cut in little triangles
- 10 ml of sugar syrup
- 50-75 ml of soda
- 20-25 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
- Mint leaves
Suggested glass: Large tumbler
- Place the cut citrus fruit in the bottom of a 500 ml tumbler. (It’s just for decoration.)
- Half-fill the glass with cracked ice. Add the Fino, lemon juice and sugar syrup, and stir to mix.
- Add soda and stir again.
- Top up with ice, and garnish with a few sprigs of mint, a twist of lemon and a twist of lime.
I’ve been following the cocktail creations of Ian Adams, of Romolo 15 in San Francisco, for years. He regularly wins competitions (including the 2015 Copa de Jerez) for his brilliant pairings of food and wine. And I just love this drink. It was created to pair with two of my favourite ingredients – squid and chorizo – and named after the iconic Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. Although the homemade grenadine is preferable, shop bought will do.
- 3 dashes cacao nib tincture*
- 15 ml homemade grenadine**
- 15 ml fresh lemon juice
- 15 ml Brandy de Jerez
- 45 ml Leonore Palo Cortado
- 45 ml Brut Rosado Cava
- Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake briefly (5-10 seconds).
- Strain into a chilled glass.
- Top with Brut Rosado Cava.
- Garnish with a lemon peel twist.
Glass suggestion: Any stemmed glass to hold approx. 150 ml.
*Cacao nib tincture:
- Combine 1 cup roasted and husked cacao nibs and 2 cups VS Armagnac in a glass jar.
- Seal and store in a cool dark place for 5-10 days, depending on the intensity of the cacao, tasting daily.
- Strain and store in a sealed glass jar.
- Serve from a typical glass olive oil/vinegar dasher.
- Yield: ~1.5qt.
- 1 qts organic pomegranate juice.
- 1.5 qts evaporated cane sugar.
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses.
- 1 tsp orange flower water.
- 1 tsp salt.
- Combine over low heat, stirring frequently to reduce until thick.
- Cool and store.