Other fortifieds (the world outside sherry)

I love sherry. Many of you will know that. I love the variety it provides too- ranging from fresh and bright Finos, via salty even smoky Manzanilla through the lovely nuttiness of Amontillado all the way through dry Oloroso to the richer, sweeter Olorosos and PXs.

Then there’s the other worldy goodness of Palo Cortado. The older ones are literally some of the most phenomenal products I’ve tasted. Ranging from salty to sweet, to dry to meaty. In one sip. They literally dance across your tongue and up through your nose in a manner that contradicts how products usually taste. Seriously wonderful stuff. Get them

Sherries also provide a wonderful cocktail ingredient; not only do they have the aforementioned flavour variety, but they last. This means that you can use them in the house or bar without them having the quick (open) shelf life of a beer or wine whilst still providing the benefits of this lower ABV category. In fact, once you reach amontillado, they’re pretty much bulletproof, but still drink them fresh.

I could wax on about sherries, but the truth is fortified wines tend to be more feasible ingredients than wines. Using a white wine is like using a good vodka, a real subtlety needs to be employed to let the flavours or textures shine and often the alcohol isn’t there to carry the flavour without overloading them with sugar (of course it can be done, and the drier drinks can work too). Red wines provide an interesting ingredient in the form of tannins, but again, the issue of practicality and shelf life come into play.

Fortifieds help with this by giving firstly a bit more sugar to carry flavour, but also a good enough dose to help extend the freshness- giving that extra window to ensure they can last to make it into a few drinks. I’ve had a good number of excellent Port cocktails (Tawny Port is also another oxidised wonder of the booze world).

On the back of this conversation, over a love of sherry,