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Anyone cook with sherry?

I occasionally run across recipes calling for sherry. I've had a bottle in my cupboard for probably a year. However, I read a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News in which the author said to buy a half bottle if you don't plan on finishing it in two days. Two days?! Does anyone cook with sherry? Have you found that it has a short shelf life? Do you refrigerate it?

Thanks for any advice. I don't want to buy a whole bottle if I'm going to have to pour it out in a couple of days (I don't think I can drink that much sherry!). I may have to look for substitutes if a recipe calls for it.

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  1. Well, I'm not a big sherry fan as far as drinking it...even dry good quality sherry seems sweet to me...but I do use it in my stir-fry marinades...soy sauce, sherry, toasted sesame oil, maybe a little ginger & garlic if it isn't already in the stir-fry. And it seems to keep a pretty long while...I think the last brand I bought was Osborne from Spain. It does seem to matter to buy a better-quality dry sherry, that I've found. Just my two Lincoln head pennies.

    1. Sherry adds a lovely depth to so many dishes ... try a splash in gravy, and it's a must with sauteed mushrooms. I don't refrigerate and go through a bottle or so a year ... stores fine.

      NB: Under NO circumstances buy anything labeled "cooking sherry." Especially at a grocery store.

      1. two days? ridiculous!

        agree with val and cyndigo

        love it in seafood bisques.

        buy excellent quality.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          Unlike something like hard liquor, the alcohol level in sherry isn't strong enough to store a opened bottle for a long time. Sherry's alcohol level is about 15%, which isn't that far off from wine. And, you wouldn't keep an opened bottle of wine for a year, would you?

            1. re: hobbess

              i wasn't agreeing on the "year" thing, but i've used amontillado sherry over three-four months, for sure. wine wouldn't last a day! (at least in our house! ;-).

          1. Mrs H drinks sherry so a bottle never lasts too long - but certainly a few weeks rather than days. It's something we always have in but don't have too many recipes that call for it.

            1. I'm lucky. I keep some half-decent sherry around our restaurant, so I have some on hand all the time to cook with, and it doesn't go bad. I have thrown out bottles of sherry that I've had at home that've gotten old in 6 months time. The taste is just off a bit -- but I'm very sensitive about "old wine" tastes.

              The addition of a nice, nutty sherry to cream soups is a wonderful, traditional thing that really brings a whole new elegance to the dish. A restaurant near us makes a sherried New England Clam Chowder that's just superb.

              A dash of sherry in creamed spinach opens up that dish. Sherry is also a fine substitute for XiaoXing cooking wine in recipes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shaogo

                Im glad you brought up cream based soups- I used to use reduced sherry in my mashed potatoes with some herbs I believe-it added a really nice background to the dish and I felt that it boosted the overall quality of the dish. Ill have to try that again soon-its been forever.

              2. Sherry is a fortified wine and should be kept in the fridge. There are some kinds that need to be used fast (Fino) but other styles are much better keepers.

                Here are two articles that can help you figure out which would kind would be your best bet. And sherry is very affordable!



                1. maybe I just don't know any better but I keep sherry in my pantry a long time (6 months or more) and I've never noticed any issues with it. I use it mainly in a couple recipes that use a few T as a marinade.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DGresh

                    I don't care for opened wine, but opened sherry tastes fine to me. I keep it until I use up the bottle, and haven't noticed any off-tastes. I completely agree with the suggestion that you get good sherry. (Go to a decent wine shop and ask for a recommendation)

                  2. It's not really complicated. If you're going to drink Sherry, keeping it longer than two days for that purpose is not a good idea because it loses some of its flavor notes in a short time. If you're going to cook with Sherry, a previously opened but well sealed bottle (I use a wine bottle vacuum sealer) will last a year in the cupboard.
                    You can use Sherry in cooking pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, veal, even beef in many instances. It makes a very nice addition to a mushroom sauce or gravy.

                    1. Kevin Zraly in his Windows on the World Complete Wine Course says that sherry last longer than table wines because sherry has a higher alcohol content, but he says sherry should be consumed within two weeks, for the best taste. He also say that manzanilla and fino sherry--the two driest types of sherry--should be consumed within two days.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: chezpaul

                        You can keep things like sherry for a very long time if all you plan to do is cook with it. The use within rules are for if you plan to drink it.

                        Sake is the same - you should drink sake within a week of opening, but the stuff we use for cooking we keep for months.

                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                            True, but why put something in your food that is not worthy of drinking.

                            1. re: chezpaul

                              If the choice is keeping a bottle of sherry in the cupboard for a few months so that you have it available to cook with every few weeks, or: either using some "substitute" or buying a new bottle and throwing out 7/8 of it two days later, I don't think keeping it around is a bad choice. The OP was asking if she could use the old sherry or if she should find a substitute.

                              1. re: chezpaul

                                the "degradation" of sherry that has been tightly sealed in a dark cupboard for three months is not going to make any noticeable difference in your lobster bisque -- even if you can taste said degradation by drinking the sherry straight up.

                                1. re: chezpaul

                                  "why put something in your food that is not worthy of drinking."

                                  Because a little goes a long way, and it's a nice accent on food but too strong to drink (at least for me). I love it in she-crab soup and a mushroom cream chicken dish that I make.

                                  I refrigerate it and it lasts at least a year and is fine.

                                  1. re: starbucksbrew

                                    mushroom cream chicken dish sounds good (sherry loves mushrooms!) http://southernfood.about.com/od/skil...
                                    (i think this recipe needs a little doctoring, though, to kick up the flavor and give it a little color).

                                    mushrooms and scallops in a cream sauce with shallots and sherry is scrumptious.

                                    isn't sherry also in chicken a lá king? http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-...

                                    put almost any creamy thing with sherry in a puff pastry shell to make vols au vent and i'm a happy camper. (just now, i'm imagining lobster in a rose-tinged cream sauce -- from tomato paste or perhaps a roasted red pepper puree -- with sherry in one of those pastry shells. what about topping it with some pretty salmon roe?).

                            2. Find a good original recipe for turkey or chicken Tetrazzini. James Beard's book on American Cookery has a good one, as does his original JB Cookbook. He had a special fondness for it because it was invented in San Francisco, one of his (and my) favorite towns, and named in honor of Luisa Tetrazzini, a soprano "of thrilling voice and ample girth", who certainly would have enjoyed this dish; Beard himself had wanted to sing opera, but never achieved the level required, so went into Food Appreciation instead, to our great benefit.

                              1. They say it depends on the type of sherry - fino and manzanilla, the dryest, are said to be quite perishable, while other types (and blends, I suppose) keep longer.

                                I opened a bottle of fino a couple of weeks ago, added some to sautéed mushrooms yesterday, and it tasted just fino. <grin> But maybe my tastebuds aren't sensitive enough to complain - which can be an advantage.

                                Still, next time I'll buy some other type, as for me fino is way too dry for drinking. Maybe amontillado.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: armagnac

                                  amontillado is typically what i use. osborne is a good brand. also sandeman.