There’s no doubt about it; Sherry is having its moment. Once thought to be a tipple only grandma would enjoy, it has become the darling of hip sommeliers, mixologists and fashionable drinkers.
Many first impressions of sherry aren’t good ones. For many people, sherry is synonymous with something past its best which only sees the light of day on Christmas morning.
Thankfully, we’re now waking up to the true nature of sherry; a wonderfully varied and versatile wine. Lightly fortified, some sherries are the driest white wines you’ll find, while others are laden with sugar. Some are nutty, some are creamy and some are salty. There’s a sherry for every taste.
But, when it comes to sherry glasses, we usually think about only one; the tiny, tulip-shaped glasses which granny used, which taper in before widening out at the rim.
For sure, these tiny sherry glasses can be beautiful. Many are engraved or etched with beautiful patterns. Such fine craftsmanship on delicate objects is impressive.
And it’s easy to see why these pretty little glasses became popular. When sherry first arrived in Britain in the mid 18th century, so too did the sherry glass. Sherry became a favourite of society ladies, given that it was the only drink women were permitted to drink in polite company.
But serving in little tulip-shaped liqueur glasses does sherry no favours. Drinking from too narrow a glass means you can’t appreciate the bouquet of the sherry.
The right glass will help you to get the most out of this still-underrated fortified wine. It will help you to fully appreciate the tanginess of a fino or the lovely nuttiness of an amontillado. Too small a glass and your nose will sit outside the glass rather than allowing you to breathe in the delicious aromas.
Sometimes, simple really is best. Serve in a thin, tulip-shaped white wine glass, or a Champagne flute. Better still invest in thin, transparent copitas, Spanish sherry glasses which aren’t heavy on embellishment, but do enhance flavours.
They’re designed with a wide shape and inward taper to enhance the complex flavours of sherry.
Importantly, don’t fill the glass more than half way or the wine won’t have the chance to blossom, breathe and release its aromas as you swirl it. After all you can always refill if you would like more.
While sherry used to be strictly drunk as an aperitif or digestif, we’re now waking up to the joys of enjoying a Manzanilla, an Amontillado or a Moscatel as part of a meal.
If you’re setting out a formal dinner party arrangement, then the dessert glass forms your highest point, with your water goblet to the lower left and glasses for red and white on the lower right side. When sherry is served, your glass should be on the lower right of your white wine glass in a triangle arrangement. Or you could opt for a diamond shape with your sherry glass to the lower left of your white wine glass.
There are all sorts of rules about glass shapes and configuration. But sometimes, rules are made to be broken. As more mixologists switch on to the versatility of sherry, it is turning up in a plethora of cocktails. So, you might just find your sherry being served up in a lowball or a Martini glass. Whichever glass you drink it in, enjoy!