I’m having a ginger moment. This moment has lasted months, actually. It got started on summer vacation and has stretched happily into cooler (colder!) temps. Since July, it seems like every time we’ve eaten out, bartenders have been mixing up cocktails with a whole lotta ginger. Smoky mezcal and ginger beer, ginger margaritas, even a ginger gimlet. Yum, yum, and yum.
I’ve kept the ginger love alive in more than just cocktails too, with ginger tea in the mornings (an idea I stole from Shelly), gingery green beans at dinner (stole that from Wendle), and even ginger in my brownies (yep, stole that idea too). It came as no surprise really that when I got my hands on Talia Baiocchi’s new primer on all things sherry, the gingery New Spain cocktail immediately called my name.
Though I do love sherry, I might never have thought of mixing it with ginger (or much else) without Baiocchi’s help. In Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret, she not only helps illustrate sherry’s many nuances, she also offers plenty of ways to enjoy it other than simply straight up.
“New York City bartender Sam Ross’s Penicillin—a mix of scotch, lemon, honey, and ginger—became one of the few drinks to quickly establish itself within the tiny category of ‘modern classics,'” says Baiocchi, a long-time wine and spirits writer who launched and helms the online wine-and-spirits magazine Punch. “It’s a drink I return to often and one I am always pleased to meet on a cocktail list. The Penicillin’s foolproof combination of smoky, spicy, sweet, and sour has sparked a whole category of riffs, including this one. I used the same flavor blueprint and subbed in mezcal, amontillado, lime, and agave to give it a muggier, bass-toned Latino updo. What the drink illustrates well is the strong relationship between sherry and spirits like mezcal or scotch, which tend to have an iodine and salt component that is echoed in both fino and amontillado.”
- 1 (1/2-inch-thick) slice fresh ginger, peeled
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- ½ ounce lime juice
- 2 ounces amontillado
- 1 ounce Del Maguey Vida mezcal
- Garnish: nutmeg, lime wheel
- Add the ginger to a mixing glass with the agave and lime juice and muddle.
- Add the sherry and mezcal, and fill with ice. Shake, and finely strain over a large cube of ice into a rocks glass. Grate nutmeg over the top and garnish with the lime wheel.
Reprinted with permission from Sherry, by Talia Baiocchi, copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC. Photography copyright © 2014 by Ed Anderson