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Real men drink Sherry

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 6th May 2011

Where I was born and bred, if I had gone into a pub and asked for a Schooner of sweet sherry, I would have been lucky to have escaped the establishment without having received a sound thrashing.

And rightly so.

Most of the pubs the I frequented back in the North served various types of real cask ale, maybe a couple of types of lager for the ladies and Asbo teens, Cider for the weirdos, and a row full of optics for the high-rollers.

Sherry, sweet or otherwise, was something that the likes of Mavis Riley and Emily Bishop drank on Coronation street, or was dragged from the back of a dusty drinks cabinet on christmas day to drizzle over a trifle before being put back for another year.

So a couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a few mates about whether or not it was acceptable for a bloke to order a sherry in a Spanish bar. I know the countless glossy travel magazines will rant on about the joys of sitting in an Andalusian Tapas bar sipping a dry 'Jerez' with a few slices of salty Jamon Iberico... etc... etc... but I was curious to know what the reality was away from the tourist hotspots of Seville.

So do 'real blokes' drink Sherry in the 'real Spain' (where the glossy mags don't often venture) ?

My first attempt at ordering a sherry fell on stony ground. My usual barman in my local bar just laughed and proceeded to give me my usual pint. My second attempt faired better - although he did have to ask me twice - and resulted in me being asked exactly what type of sherry I would like. How the hell would I know ? So I rattled off the only one that I knew that I could ask for confidently - 'Fino'.

I can only describe the taste as being a cross between a dry white wine, skillfully blended with a touch of mollases and a hint of nail polish remover. But each to their own...

The only reaction in the whole bar came from the barman himself, a shrug of the shoulders, and that came from his surprise that I had ordered something other than my usual Pint - something I don't think that I had ever done in my 7 years of frequenting the hostelry.

So the result was a null hypothesis - but if I had to stick my neck out I'd say that it was socially acceptable for a bloke to order a sherry, but maybe nowhere near as common as the Glossies would have you believe (at least not in my part of Spain).

And maybe I would have had a vicious beating from the locals if they could have been bothered to put their Campari and Soda's down.

Comment on this Blog

Around my area it seems that a Fino is popular as an aperitif - with those of a certain age - although I have rarely seen it drunk on Its own in a bar without a meal.
C Timpson - Sat, 15th Nov 2014
Señor Gruñón I have it on good authority that El fino es masculino so no worries there. And WHEN are we getting your book on all things expat? If you´re not going to do stand up at least write us a funny book!
Mo - Fri, 19th Oct 2012
Right, here we go. (Wee Glesga ned time). My hubbie is asturiano and loves his cider but occasionally has a sherry, not that sweet Harvey´s Bristol Cream my uncle has "drank" (well, I´m being a nedess) for some 65 years - out of a half-bottle in his pocket - but the "manzanilla" variety. Unfortunately when he´s asked the odd Romanian bargirl for "un manzanilla" (not una) she´s come back with a pot of tea.... but it´s perfectly manly to have a dry sherry, especially when one knows how to escanciar one´s sidra!
Mo - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
Sidra (cider) in Asturias, poured out of a long funnel to aerate it.
Alcalaina - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
Do most other Spanish Regions have a 'Local Tipple' as well ? I know Cava is popular in Catalonia, and Moscatel in Alicante, but that's about it.
Col Preston - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
that's what is good about Spain; its regions & their specialities. I've never ever seen sherry drunk in the Basque country. Come to think of it, you don't always see sherry bottles on display either. Would recommend Paul Richardson's book "A late dinner", all about a trip to discover the different food & drink of Spain.
Paul Attard - Mon, 25th Jul 2011
Ignore Mr Grumpy - I recently made him a Membrillo, Olorosso and almond cake for his brithday. Although I admit the rest of the bottle of Olorosso Sherry did hang around the drinks shelf for quite a few months after.
Jo Green - Fri, 20th May 2011
The Bodegas around here seem to sell loads of the stuff, I just never see anyone drinking any of it. Maybe it is a conspiracy and they just drink it in private.
Mr Grumpy - Thu, 12th May 2011
Real men in Spain drink brandy for breakfast. After that, a glass of sherry is too darn healthy.
Rea - Wed, 11th May 2011
If you come down to the "sherry triangle" around Jerez de la Frontera in the south-west of Spain, you will see that real men DO drink sherry. It's working class drink, more common than beer, especially amongst older people. At fairs and festivals fino is served with ice and lemonade, known as rebujito. Like olives, its a taste worth acquiring!
Alcalaina - Wed, 11th May 2011

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