Some people think of sherry as their grandparents’ drink. Or something you might see Lord Grantham pour before dinner at Downton Abbey. Not to be confused with cooking sherry, bottles of which everyone should toss immediately (it is mixed with salt and other unwelcome things), sherry is an appetizing drink with a seaside tang, lovely on its own or paired with food. Sommeliers, mixologists, and a growing number of enthusiasts are embracing the dry versions of this fortified wine from Jerez, Spain, even pouring it with hard-to-pair ingredients.
Recently, sherry’s image got a boost from “Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla: A Guide to the Traditional Wines of Andalucia,” by Peter Liem and Jesus Barquin, authorities on the subject. In the volume, they trace the arc of sherry through history, including its golden age in the 19th century and the trend toward corporatization, which shuttered many family-owned bodegas in the 1960s and 1970s. The authors describe traditional methods of production and profile artisanal sherry makers who produce some of the finest examples today.