Trends in the booze world are deeply cyclical, and the use of sherry is one that has fallen in and out of favor over the years, having resurged with bartenders as recently as 2014. But popularity notwithstanding, Spain’s venerable fortified wine, in all of its different forms, remains a timelessly exciting ingredient to mix with given its astounding diversity, from dry, acidic fino to sweet, fruity Pedro Ximénez (PX). Sippable any time of year, some sherries are especially loved during the fall for their woody, spicy and nutty notes, which also play perfectly into seasonal cocktails. From new-school cobblers to a beloved tequila-sherry Eggnog, these are seven excellent sherry cocktails to sip this autumn.
It’s fitting that this new vintage-forward bar would rejigger an elegant take on the classic mid-1800s Sherry Cobbler. As with the original recipe, sherry—in this case, a split base of fino and oloroso sherries—is offset by bright citrus, including a house-made pineapple-rosemary shrub and fresh lemon juice, as well as three dashes of celery bitters, highlighting the interaction of sweet and salty flavors. Bar woman Dee Ann Quinones’ photogenic drink is finished off with a spritz of herbaceous green Chartreuse and crowned with pineapple leaves, a cherry and a flower.
In Scott LoBianco’s tall apple-laced cocktail, Bacardí 8rum and Laird’s apple brandy are soothed by a nutty and rich amontillado sherry and house-made baked-apple tonic (this involves cooking dehydrated apples, cinnamon, cloves, cinchona bark and citric acid). It’s topped with soda and garnished with a slice of baked apple for a refreshingly crisp autumn concoction.
3. I Was Born on a Pirate Ship (Randolfi’s, St. Louis)
At this Neapolitan charmer, a who’s who lineup of fortified wines makes for a refreshing apéritif to sip before diving into a spread of the kitchen’s hearty pizzas. Bartender Jeffrey Moll showcases bold notes of raisin, cola and orange with equal parts Carpano dry vermouth and Cocchi di Torino sweet vermouth, layering them with splashes of fruity, nutty Pierre Ferrand Pineau de Charentes and oloroso sherry, while Bittercube Blackstrap bitters lend spiciness and a whisper of molasses.
The original Bamboo cocktail—a simple combination of vermouth, sherry and bitters—was invented by a German bartender in Yokohama, Japan, to appease the palates of visiting Europeans. It gained attention once again with the more recently renewed interest in sherry, yielding newfangled takes like this Southeast Asian riff by drinks man Chad Solomon. In this drink, Texas’ ownCrazy Water No. 4 mineral water meets Dolin Blanc vermouth and bone-dry Tío Pepe fino sherry, all brightened with drops of funky lemongrass essence and mineral saline.
Playing on the ’80s Frangelico-and-Chambord cocktail Nuts & Berries, Tim Cooper keeps the Frangelico but swaps Chambord out for St. George raspberry liqueur and freshly muddled raspberries. The original recipe is also tweaked with the additions of fresh lemon juice, house-made ginger syrup, High West double rye and Lustau amontillado sherry in a double rocks glass.
While still fresh off a trip to Peru, head bartender Jess Lambert created this tropical, South American riff on the Sherry Cobbler, fusing dry yet nutty Lustau oloroso sherry with an acidic guava-tea shrub, Cointreau and a hint of aromatic Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur. It’s tempered with coconut milk, balanced with a dash of Angostura bitters and poured over crushed ice. As for that slightly scandalous name? It’s taken from the Pimps of Joytime song “Booty Text (Clubby Mix).”
A perfect example of a low-proof, fair-weather sherry cocktail, this Badminton Cup–inspired sip by bar woman Leslie Ross bulks up strawberry-infused calvados with a full-bodied red burgundy wine and a touch of nuttiness from a Lustau amontillado sherry. The cocktail’s fruity flavors, along with maraschino liqueur, evoke the nostalgic taste of sweet Watermelon Bubble Yum, rounded out with a splash of dry cucumber soda.