A Fino Time at the Sherry Cocktail Competition


One of the most enticing trends in mixology in the last year has been the resurgence of sherry as an ingredient. (Death & Co. barkeep Alex Day wrote about his love of the fortified wine in his ReadyMade column last month.) Yesterday, Vinos de Jerez hosted its nationwide Sherry Cocktail Competition at Clover Club in Cobble Hill. New York bartenders that made the final cut included Phil Ward of Mayahuel, Alex Raij of Txikito, and Thomas Waugh of Death & Co. The winner would get cash, a full scholarship to the BAR school, and an all-expense paid trip to Jerez, Spain, where delicious sherry is made.

First and second place went to Charles Joly of the Drawing Room in Chicago and Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, respectively. Ward took third place with his Smoked Palomino cocktail. He shares the recipe below.

“I like working with sherry because it is delicious and versatile,” says Ward. “It can be the base of a drink or a modifier in a drink. I feel it goes with any other spirit category, but particularly well with tequila and mezcal because it, like tequila and mezcal, is extremely savory. It almost overwhelms other spirits if not used gingerly. As I mentioned at competition, the beauty of agave-based spirits is their usage in the spicy-savory cocktail realm. Sherry caters to this notion perfectly.”

The Smoked Palomino

2 oz Lustau (Los Arcos) Dry Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Del Maguey Crema De Mezcal
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
3/4 oz fresh lime
1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
3/4 oz club soda
kosher salt, for rimming
one lime wedge, for garnish

Rim the lip of a Pilsner glass by lubricating with a lime wedge and rolling in a plate of salt. Add 4 perfect cubes of ice to the glass. In a shaker or mixing glass, combine the simple syrup, lime, grapefruit, Crema de Mezcal, and sherry over ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into the rimmed and iced Pilsner glass. Top with club soda, and garnish with the lime wedge. Serve with a tall straw.

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