The Drinks Tray: Sherry, surely?

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Offer someone a glass of sherry and they will either say, “Yes, immediately,” or they’ll wrinkle their nose and say, “No,” perhaps adding a sarcastic, “thank you.”

We must pity the latter type, for life has been unkind. The word ‘sherry’ conjures to his or her mind a dusty, musty and dimly lit childhood populated by well-meaning grandmothers that smelled of Lily of the Valley and lavender bags and – ever so slightly and not all the time - of Harvey’s Bristol Cream.

Up where such ledgers are kept, there must be a heavy black mark by the name of John Harvey (the second), who perpetrated the latter diabolical perversion. The invention was christened (if that ain’t blasphemy, what is?) ‘dessert sherry’, which really tells you all you need to know. They use it in ‘trifle’, apparently.

A chilled, bone-dry manzanilla or fino, however, is something different altogether. Accompanied by a handful of salted almonds or a couple of anchovy-stuffed olives, we submit that there is nothing better to drop into an empty stomach before lunch on a springtime Sunday when one wants, very discretely, to get a little buzz on.

With Easter in the offing, we can look forward to that somewhat bewildering but undeniably appetising dual prospect of lambs frolicking in the fields outside whilst inside their siblings sizzle away in the oven. These are, then, great days; we warmly recommend you pick up a bottle of sherry and pop it in the door of the ‘fridge by way of celebration.