Dry sherry for cooking
- Wendy Lai
I need some advice about dry sherry for cooking.
Is it expensive? Is there a different between cooking sherry and drinking sherry? How much should I expect to spend on a decent bottle? How long does it last?
Any specific brand name?
"Cooking Sherry" is usually bad and has salt added to make it undrinkable so that it can be sold in a supermarket and is not considered alcohol.
You can get a decent dry sherry for cooking at any half decent liquor store for $7-14. A "Fino" is probably what your are looking for. If you just ask the "wine guy" should be able to help you out.
P.S. Sweet sherry's are also sometimes used for desserts, etc. but that is a little more unusual.
Wendy, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you earlier on this. Don't use cooking sherry - or any other cooking wine.
Sherry lasts indefinitely once open. I keep a bottle in the house for drinking and get into it for cooking when necessary. The bottle in the liquor closet currently is Tio Pepe Fino Muy Seco and cost $18 whenever we bought it. You should be able to get away forless than that.
Do not not NOT buy "cooking sherry"!!!!! It is a holdover from Prohibition, and as mentioned below, is rotgut with tons of salt added.
You can find decent fino in stores for about $7 or $8 a bottle. Look for Savory & James, or Wisdom & Warter. While they are not always consistent, they are the real thing and good for drinking as well as cooking. Other brands are La Gitana, Lustau, and Barbadillo -- but these are more expensive.
Types of sherry: fino is the lightest, dryest; manzanilla is a slightly saltier version of fino; amontillado (as in the Poe story) is older, darker, nuttier -- considered to be "medium." Any others tend more toward the sweet: oloroso, and cream. Note that "Dry Sack" ISN'T: it is quite sweet.
I use La Gitana Manzanilla, which is pretty cheap and decent. It's good enough that the cook can have a chilled glass of it before dinner and it's pleasant.