Adapted from Sherry by Talia Baiocchi

dunhill classic sherry cocktail gin sherry

While the Dunhill makes its most famous appearances in Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them (1908) and the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) as the Dunhill’s Special, according to Dave Wondrich, the drink was invented at Hatchett’s Bar in London’s Piccadilly at some point before 1925, when it’s first mentioned in Nina Toye and A. H. Adair’s Drinks—Long and Short. 

The drink echoes several classics—the 1:1:1 ratio skews Negroni, while splitting dry vermouth with an oxidized sherry and an olive garnish (or in this case, a blended sherry) seems to wink at the Perfect Martini. What it ends up drinking like is something akin to a mellower take on the former, and while early recipes suggest the drink be served up, when using a sherry like Lustau’s East India, which is almost oily in texture, it’s best to serve it over a big cube, replacing the original olive garnish with a twist of lemon for a little extra cut.

Reprinted with permission from Sherry by Talia Baiocchi, copyright © 2014. Photo by Ed Anderson © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Serving: 1

  • 1 barspoon absinthe
  • 1 ounce gin (preferably Beefeater)
  • 1 ounce Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth (preferably Dolin)
  • 1/4 ounce orange curaçao, Pierre Ferrand

Garnish: lemon peel

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice, add the absinthe, and set aside.
  2. In a mixing glass add the gin, sherry, vermouth and curaçao, fill with ice, and stir.
  3. Empty the rocks glass, coating the sides with the absinthe.
  4. Add a large ice cube to the rocks glass and strain the stirred ingredients into the glass.
  5. Garnish with the lemon peel.
  • My, oh, my. Had one of these for the first time the other night. In my case, the bartender threw, rather than stirred, the drink. He asserted that since it had at _least_ the vermouth, it would benefit from the opening-bubbles introduced by throwing. (The sherry maybe, too, though the sherry is already a bit oxidized, and the added oxygen may not have much impact.)

    Right or wrong, this cocktail was wonderfully balanced. The flavors cascaded one over the other, and none dominated. Mine came with the lemon peel, but I can see where the olive garnish might make sense.

    I liked this enough that I’m picking up both the curaçao and sherry to add to my cocktail cabinet. (I googled for the recipe to find it, and voila – found Punch as an added benefit. FTW!)

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