Flamenco friends & sherry cocktails

Ringing in the New Year on the Oregon Coast during a pandemic was not on my radar one year ago! It was just my partner Jaron and I binge-watching Netflix and monitoring our yard as a thunder storm barreled through. What better way to celebrate the New Year than drinking a Stormy sherry cocktail?!

Let me be clear, I do not mix cocktails often and when I do, they must be simple. When I first discovered sherry, I was also a stubborn purist, judging anyone mixing this top quality wine into a cocktail. However, over the years I have softened and embraced this natural gateway to introducing sherry to those who might not otherwise drink it. This is also a good way to enjoy the sweeter styles I typically avoid.

The December shipment from Enramistas included a bottle of Lustau’s East India Solera. Yes, this is technically a Cream style sherry; an Oloroso sweetened with Pedro Ximenez. However, this is not your ordinary Cream. This wine’s complex flavor profile coupled with its history makes for a magical liquid treasure.

ITS AGING PROCESS RECREATES THAT OF THE WINES WHICH CROSSED THE OCEANS IN THE 17TH CENTURY VOYAGES AND RETURNED TO EUROPEAN PORTS WITH EXTRA COMPLEXITY AND SMOOTHNESS. THE NAME REFERS TO THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, A BRITISH TRADING COMPANY THAT TRANSPORTED COTTON, SILK, SPICES, TEA, SALTPETRE AND OTHER COMMODITIES FROM THE EAST INDIES. AS A FORTIFIED WINE (WHICH LASTED LONGER), SHERRY WAS TAKEN ALONG AS BALLAST AND TO SERVE THE SHIP’S CREW ON ITS TRANSATLANTIC JOURNEY.

The Oloroso and PX wines are aged separately before blending, then matured for an additional three years in an area that is hotter and more humid, creating a wine reminiscent to the days of long journeys in the depths of trade ships. Even the bottle is a throwback to how it would have been labeled in that period.

Alone, it is a little too sweet for an average pour. I love the dried fruit and maple syrup notes, and a residual bitterness on the finish. This paired with a piece of dark chocolate makes a lovely dessert for those of you who made New Year’s diet resolutions, but cheat a little.

My flamenco teacher and friend, Laura Onizuka, invited me to share how to make a sherry cocktail with our flamenco Zoom circle. Like I mentioned, I am not a mixologist, but I found this easy recipe online for a Stormy. I omitted the extra sugar because both the sherry and ginger beer are quite sweet on their own. Also, one bottle of ginger beer and one lime make two cocktails! Here’s how I modified it to fit the tools I have in my kitchen:

  1. Cover the bottom of a stemless wine glass with ice
  2. Juice half a lime (optional: leave fruit in glass)
  3. Add 150ml East India Solera
  4. Add 100ml Ginger Beer of choice
  5. Stir & Serve

I have come a long way since I discovered sherry in 2013. Sweet isn’t the only style of sherry out there. Sherry cocktails are not diminishing the quality or legacy behind the wines. Cocktails do not have to be overly complicated to enjoy one at home, while many of us remain unable to get one in a bar. Enjoy a Stormy. But be careful, they go down easily!

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