We set four London bartenders the challenge of creating and mixing their best sherry cocktails for Christmas

Words: Millie Milliken  Photos: Laurie Fletcher

Rapper’s Delight

Sherry on top - The Cocktail Trading Co.'s Andy Mil

Andy Mil, bar manager, The Cocktail Trading Co.
We use sherry quite a lot. Why? Simple: you get more of a flavour-bang per buck than some other fortified wines. It’s also pretty versatile, so it works well in both sweet and sour drinks. It’s the DIY element of this cocktail, though, that makes it especially fun for Christmas. A small bottle of red wine wrapped in sweet paper means guests can finish the cocktail themselves.

25ml Pedro Ximénez sherry 
25ml cognac
25ml lemon juice
25ml sugar syrup
4 dashes Angostura bitters
1 egg white

Shake the ingredients in a mixer and strain into a chilled glass. Grate over nutmeg and sprinkle with icing sugar, then dress with the wine ‘sweet’ and a spice garnish.
Road to Pepito

Sherry on Top - Road to Pepito

Hannah Duffy, development manager, Bar Pepito

The many different styles of sherry mean that it’s a really versatile ingredient for cocktails. Leonor Palo Cortado is something a bit different – it’s surprisingly fresh and not too sweet – so I’ve made sure it’s the star ingredient in this sour. For a touch of Christmas, I’ve chosen walnuts dusted with icing sugar as an accompaniment – the oiliness of the nut pulls out the sherry flavour.

75ml Palo Cortado sherry  
20ml lemon juice
20ml sugar syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 egg white

Dry-shake the ingredients first to give the cocktail more froth. Add ice and shake again, before double-straining into a goblet. Grate some lemon zest over the top and serve with walnuts.

Px Martini

Sherry on Top - Jose Pizarro's Victor Calvente

Victor Calvente, operations manager, José Pizarro Broadgate
A sherry, cacao and cherry martini  seemed to be the obvious choice for a festive cocktail. I had a play around with different flavours and thought I’d add a touch of Spanish tradition in there by using the Valle del Jerte cherry liqueur. A good slug of vodka means it’s not too sweet and the aguardiente-soaked cherries give it that added alcohol hit – well, it is Christmas.

50ml Pedro Ximénez sherry 
25ml Absolut vodka 
25ml Joseph Cartron cacao liqueur
25ml Valle del Jerte cherry lique

Shake the ingredients in a cocktail mixer with ice. Dip the rim of a martini glass in cocoa powder before pouring in the cocktail. Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with aguardiente-soaked cherries.

Sherry on top - Reverend JW Simpson's Mikey Sutherland

Mikey Sutherland, bar manager, Reverend JW Simpson
Sherry doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so I was excited by the task of creating a cocktail around it. I’m Australian, so it all came down to what we have in common with England for festive celebrations – Christmas pudding. PX is perfect for this as it has fruity flavours. The name is an homage to Oscar Wilde’s femme fatale. She’s seductive, dark and complex, just like this cocktail.

35ml Pedro Ximénez sherry 
30ml sugar syrup
10ml Merlet Brothers Blend cognac 
10ml Solerno blood orange liqueur 

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail mixer and stir with ice. Pour into a cut-crystal tumbler and dress with freshly whipped brandy cream. Dust with cinnamon and serve with a spoon (for eating the cream or mixing it all together).

This article was first published in Squaremeal Christmas 2016.