The Bartenders Guide to Sherry

Sherry is both one of the oldest styles of Wine in the world & one of the most intriguing histories with the product facing the worlds highest highs & the world lowest lows in the last 200 years alone. It has been argued that Sherry production has been around since 200BC, continued during the Islamic control of the lower Iberian peninsula in 700AD & by 1264 exported throughout Europe as well as earning the moniker of being 'The best wines in the world!". We've written about Sherry here at Cocktails For You before especially talking about the problems surrounding the category but this time it would be good to deep-dive into the production, styles & some history surrounding the subject.


Sherry in a nutshell In simple terms, sherry is a wine produced in Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. It is a fortified wine, which means that a small amount of neutral grape spirit (brandy) is added to the wine to increase its alcohol content. Fortification—or, more specifically, the lingering negative connotations surrounding it is one of the reasons sherry is so misunderstood in worldwide. Another reason: its wide range of styles, which include both the driest and the sweetest wines in the world, and numerous points in between.

There are four dry styles of sherry, each with differing modes of production: fino (in which style I include manzanilla, which though distinct in character is simply a fino aged in the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda), amontillado, palo cortado, and oloroso. These styles fit, in this order, along a spectrum from lightest to fullest.