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Dry sherry for cooking

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  • Wendy Lai Jul 30, 2002 09:39 PM
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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?

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  1. "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.

    1. 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.

      Pat G

      1. 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.

        1. I think its silly to spend big bucks on sherry for cooking. Gallo Livingston Cellars has a very good dry sherry...fine for cooking. I know your guests may be impressed to see a bottle of Harvey's Bristol on the counter, but unless you like to waste money...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jim H.

            For most of my adult life I have used Almaden's dry sherry for cooking and for quaffing. In recent years, I've taken to buying a brand sold at Trader Joe's. Both types are cheap and get the job done!

          2. 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.

            1. I have a bottle at home of Harvey's Bristol Cream. Is that dry sherry also? I want to use it for cooking and hate to go out and buy a bottle if I can use this. Thanks, Richie

              2 Replies
              1. re: javaandjazz

                Sorry, but no, Bristol Cream is sweet (the Spanish term is Oloroso), too sugary for most cooking. The Manzanilla that Miles mentions is very dry, but no so much so that it can't be used for cooking. The best sherry for cooking, and pehaps a pre-meal aperitif, is a Fino, or maybe a not-too-sweet Amontillado. Oloroso makes a nice after-dinner drink.

                1. re: ekammin

                  Thanks!

              2. I keep 2 bottles of sherry around the house, for cooking it's usually Taylor or decent store brand around $10-15/bottle. For sipping and drinking, I like Dry Sack. We like dry sherry, don't keep sweet stuff in house.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                  I've always added a tablespoon or two (depending on the volume ) to soups, stews, oxtails and sauce, etc. Every time I add "dry sack" sherry to my dish, folks just say how good it is. I ran out when I moved to France. Friends brought a bottle to me from UK. Let the compliments begin again. Yesterday's oxtail dish was a raving success. When discussing the "secret " ingredient, a friend told me that the chef at French Laundry did research and learned that sherry or vinegar does something to the molecules in a recipe and is his "secret" ingredient