educational resources | oct. 5, 2021

Sherry 101: Background + Flavor Influence in Sherry Cask Aged Añejo

AN INTRODUCTION TO SHERRY

Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo brings a whole new flavor profile to the world of aged tequila. Already known for leadership in the world of barrel aging and the remarkable tequila coming from the barrel house at Hacienda Patrón, the addition of an Oloroso aged Añejo means good news for enthusiasts and mixologists alike.

Unlike other spirits that use Oloroso as a finishing move for an additional touch of flavor, Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo spends the entirety of its more than two-year aging life cycle inside the Oloroso barrel, meaning the finished result is incredibly sippable, complex and interesting. Those fortunate enough to pour this honeyed amber tequila from the attractive bottle will immediately benefit from the complex aroma and taste of caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and pecans.

For this blog, we wanted to share a little bit about sherry, and introduce you to Christine Sismondo who wrote the introduction to our Sherry Cask Aged Añejo book; filled with recipes, history, and suggestions for enjoying.


SHERRY OVERVIEW

Sherry has been tethered to the creative field of mixology for some time because of its versatility in flavor and functionality. Depending on the type, it can be used as a lively aromatic or in place of simple syrup. Sherry is a fortified wine of place coming mostly from the Andalucia region in southern Spain, the sherry triangle,” and is one of the oldest wines in the world. Some types of sherry mature under a layer of wild yeast called flor, these include Fino or Manzanilla. Others will mature without the cover of flor and are called oxidative sherries. Pedro Ximenez, Amontillado, and Oloroso are types of oxidative sherries.

Sherry is aged and blended using a system called solera y criadera. Solera is a process for aging liquids by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages. Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo uses Oloroso sherry barrels. The best examples of Oloroso sherry will have notes of pecans, dried fruits, leather, polished wood, and exotic spices. Once removed from the barrel, our tequila has hints of pecan, raisins, prunes, and cooked agave among other delicious notes.

SHERRY IN COCKTAILS

Much like the versatility in using different types of sherry in mixing, bartenders will find that the influence of the sherry barrel on our tequila will bring an enhanced level of flavor when mixing in a cocktail. Oloroso sherry on its own in cocktails often influences the drink by adding a dry, nutty, medium acid complexity. The aromatic and deep flavor profile of Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Anejo makes for a delightful sip in everything from a classic Sherry Cobbler, to an elevated Old Fashioned.

MEET AN EXPERT

An exciting release means exciting extras. As part of the launch of Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo, and the events surrounding it, the Academia Education team put together a comprehensive book including more information surrounding sherry that includes a number of delicious recipes for recreation. We were fortunate enough to have Christine Sismundo include some words as the introduction for the book.

Drinks writer and historian Christine Sismondo is the author of Prohibition, an American History Tellers podcast and several books, including America Walks into a Bar and the forthcoming Cocktails, A Still Life. She lives in Toronto, where she is often found drinking fino, vermut, tequila, and more cava than she probably should.

What role does sherry play in the cocktail world?

Although sherry’s still a little bit niche, it’s been getting a lot of love from cocktail bartenders over the past several years as they’ve discovered this wine’s tremendous versatility. Compared with most cocktail ingredients, sherry’s low-ABV (15 – 22%) makes it ideal as the base for a suppressor (low-alcohol) cocktail. It’s probably even more useful as a modifier, though, since a little splash of it can both add complexity and pull together disparate elements in a cocktail, especially ones that use Latin spirits like rum and tequila.

What’s a common misconception about sherry?

A lot of people think it’s a sweet wine. It can be, of course, but there’s a lot more to sherry than dessert wines and, on the other end of the spectrum, finos are generally bone-dry, which makes them perfect with pairing for salty snacks like anchovies or serrano ham before dinner.

What is one thing you wish people knew about sherry that they don’t?

Like all wines, different styles of sherry should be served at different temperatures. I keep fino in the refrigerator and barely let it warm up before I drink it. The other styles can be served slightly warmer. None, however, are designed to be served at room temperature.

What influence do sherry barrels have on aging spirits?

It’s hard to overstate the importance of sherry barrels in the aging process which, historically, have given so many whiskies a nutty flavour, as well as dried fruit notes, such as raisins, figs, prunes and dates.

What are the most common sherry barrels used for finishing?

I believe Oloroso casks are still the most common but it’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of people playing with other creative barrel-aging projects these days. One thing that’s really interesting to me about this Patrón expression is that, unlike many sherried whiskies that are only finished in a cask, this Añejo is entirely aged in Oloroso casks.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a sherry-finished product?

I’m a big fan of drinking spirits neat. That said, my second favourite way to enjoy a spirit under sherry’s influence is in a minimalist spirit-forward cocktail like a Rosita.


For more information and to look out for Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo trainings in your community- follow us @academia_patron to stay in the loop. We post the most up-to-date ways to interact, recipes, and more available on instagram, and deeper dives can be found here on the website. Stay tuned for more, and please enjoy this latest release!