In my early forays into mixing drinks, I purchased a bottle of Real Tesoro Amontillado sherry and made a few drinks with it. Much like Noilly Prat or Martini and Rossi, it was terrible on its own, but kind of acceptable in a cocktail. If you skimp on the quality of your fortified wine you will make sub-par drinks. Now tell me, if something does not taste good on its own, then what would possess you to pour it into a high quality bourbon, rum, or gin? The mind boggles.
Even great Amontillado sherry may be the exception to this rule, however. On its own, it is drinkable, but it has such a savory flavor, like grapes without any sugar and dried mushrooms, or perhaps mushroom stock. It’s an intriguing flavor, certainly, and it fits beautifully in a savory drink, but it’s also versatile enough to work as a base spirit from time to time. The Flor De Jerez popped up in my RSS feed just as I was in the mood to rediscover sherry, so I went down to the market and picked up a bottle of Lustau Dry Amontillado.
Emilio Lustau seems to be, to the world of Sherry, what Giulio Cocchi was to the world of vermouth, though in my very quick googling, it seems that Cocchi made a lot of things besides just vermouth, and his name has since been appropriated by another Italian family and branded on a whole line of fortified and sparkling wines. In any case, Lustau sherries are great, and I highly recommend them.
Flor de Jerez
1.5 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Dry)
.5 oz Jamaican Rum (Cruzan Aged Rum, not Jamaican, I know)
.25 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Cane Syrup or Rich Simple Syrup (2:1 Syrup)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake over ice and double-strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a very long orange twist.
There is a lot going on in this drink, perhaps a bit too much. The sweet and sour elements are well-balanced, and the sherry is well-presented, but it was not terribly memorable. I mixed this one over two weeks ago, and I have not felt a craving to mix another. It’s great to experience novelty, and I think the savory qualities of the sherry are surely something to experience, but this is not the drink I will use to introduce people to Sherry, nor the one I will make when I want to enjoy it, myself.
A sherry cobbler is definitely in my future.