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Cocktails

Sherry Your Way to a Savory Martini

March 09, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Cocktails

Sherry Your Way to a Savory Martini

March 09, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Fino sherry can add saline, earthy complexity to the format in both classic and modern recipes.

The Martini is no stranger to amendments. The timeless formula of gin and dry vermouth has been modified in countless iterations with everything from kümmel (see the Allies Cocktail) to Bénédictine (see the Ford Cocktail). But around the late 19th century, one particular modifier became gin’s companion of choice in the cocktail glass: sherry. 

Best-known among these early creations is the Tuxedo, a classic 2:1 Martini in which fino sherry stands in for vermouth, finished with a few dashes of orange bitters. In proportion and profile, it is the quintessential sherry-tinged Martini: earthy, saline and dry. But it belongs to a family tree of sherry-tinted creations that also includes the Jungle Cocktail, a little-known recipe consisting of equal parts gin, fino sherry and sweet vermouth that reads like a sherry-spiked take on the sweeter ur-Martini, the Martinez. The Alberto, meanwhile, tilts the axis more toward dry by swapping sweet vermouth for the bittersweet Cocchi Americano in the same equal-parts construction. 

Sherry Martini Recipe
Recipe

Tuxedo

A classic dry Martini with fino sherry standing in for vermouth.

Jungle Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Chantal Tseng’s Jungle Cocktail

This little-known cocktail belongs to a vast family of sherry-tinged Martini variations.

Alberto Martini Cocktail Recipe
Recipe

Alberto

A Martini-adjacent classic awaiting its comeback.

The equal-parts formula, which lets sherry’s savory complexity shine, has proved popular even in modern creations. Dan Greenbaum’s Lifetime Ban, for example, blends navy-strength gin, blanc vermouth and fino sherry in equal proportions, all of which are stirred with mint for an herbal boost. And, taking direct inspiration from the Tuxedo, Benjamin Krick’s French Tuxedo swaps the expected gin for vodka, but adds a botanical burst in the form of a kümmel rinse. 

More aligned with the spirit-forward construction of a typical dry Martini is Israel Morales’ Prince Kuragin. Designed to answer the call for something “strong and savory,” the drink pairs celery-infused gin with fino sherry in a classic dry Martini ratio, while a splash of apricot liqueur creates an effect that Morales describes as “completely different.”

Sherry Martini Recipe
Recipe

Lifetime Ban

A reverse Martini with a splash of sherry.

Sherry Martini Recipe
Recipe

French Tuxedo

Kümmel adds extra aroma to a vodka-based variation on the classic Tuxedo.

Sherry Martini Recipe
Recipe

Prince Kuragin

Celery-infused gin, sherry and apricot liqueur come together in this savory cocktail.

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