one hundred cocktails
drinking with a purpose
Barbara West Cocktail
27 Feb 2011
I get slightly peeved at recipes that have ingredients like “sherry.” The author does hint that he prefers an amontillado sherry, but there’s a vast gulf of sherries out there. I guess the same is true of bitters and gin, but I had only so many interesting sherries in stock. I settled on a Hidalgo Oloroso that’s made ever so slightly off dry via Pedro Ximénez.
The end result was still quite dry and quite pleasant. The sourness of the sherry and lemon make for a sharp bite up front; the flavors of the sherry come out in the finish, but they don’t intrude with the bitters and gin for the first few seconds. “Like sucking on a Meyer lemon” was an apt description for how the drink tastes for the first few seconds. There’s a nice toasty/burnt caramel flavor as the drink settles down, and a little wisp of juniper at the end to round things out.Whereas a martini mixed in these proportions is still quite forward, the drink is surprisingly mellow.
If you like gin or sherry at all, I think this one is worth a shot; I would definitely serve it again. It’s also interesting for people not used to drinking sherry, as the flavors will be a bit unfamiliar. This is not, however, a drink for those who like sweet cocktails. I may take the author’s advice if I ever attempt to order it while out, going for a “Creole with Bitters” instead.
Of course, after tasting nice sherry, drinking some Spanish wine, and working on this cocktails, the glassware was starting to get out of hand…
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