The holiday season calls for a drink that pairs well with food and smooths conversation. Our solution: sherry. The Spanish fortified wine has a lower alcohol content than liquor but a higher one than wine. Here are our test kitchen's picks, plus a few great cocktails to try.
Light & Crisp
La Guita Manzanilla, $11 for 375 ml, despanafinewines.com.
Medium & Complex
Marqués de Poley Amontillado, $37 for 500 ml, flatiron-wines.com.
Dark & Nutty
Tomás García Oloroso, $26 for 750 ml, at Whole Foods Market Wine.
3 Superb Sherry Cocktails
Give the classic Italian aperitif an Iberian twist by using manzanilla sherry instead of gin, then garnish with Spanish olives in addition to the traditional orange peel. The best part? You can make a big batch in advance.
Daniel Webster's Punch
Who is Daniel Webster, you ask? He was a Massachusetts senator who allegedly shared this potent punch recipe with a friend before he died in the mid-nineteenth century. Our version combines fresh fruit and black tea with four types of booze: oloroso sherry, Jamaican black rum, Bordeaux, and Champagne.
Swapping out the usual vermouth for amontillado sherry and Lillet Blanc makes a vodka martini way more interesting.