My sherry amour, a pretty little drink we can all adore

The maiden aunt's tipple is enjoying a revival. But is it the 'Downton' effect?

Mary Poppins' employer, Mr Banks, would have one at precisely 6.02pm each night, while the Downton Abbey set would demand a drop before supper. Sherry, popular in the 1970s, is shaking off a staid reputation and undergoing a revival.

Bars dedicated to the drink have sprung up across London and the rest of the country in the past year, including, in the capital, Capote y Toros, serving the drink with ham, in Knightsbridge, Pepito in King's Cross and José sherry and tapas bar in Southwark.

The revival is also credited to the rising number of restaurants serving sherry, such as Oloroso in Edinburgh and Paul Heathcote's Grado in Manchester. Authentic Spanish restaurants, such as Barrafina, Brindisa and Cambio de Tercio, are reawakening diners to a drink more associated with elderly spinsters and trifle.

M&S, which has seen sherry sales rise 15 per cent in the past three months, talks of a "Downton effect". Sue Daniels, its sherry winemaker, said: "Sherry is one of the best kept secrets in wine, and seeing it enjoyed by the Downton Abbey characters has obviously sparked our appetites for it – it's great to see it having a revival."

Patrick Sandeman, an owner and director of Lea & Sandeman wine merchants, said sherry sales have risen by 20 per cent over the year.

Jeremy Rockett, marketing director for González Byass, said: "We have a generation that is new to sherry. People in their forties and fifties didn't drink it because they associated it with their parents, but those in their twenties and thirties are coming to it fresh. The rise of Spanish gastronomy and sherry bars are introducing people to it in an authentic Spanish way."

Not everyone is convinced of the "Downton effect". Mr Sandeman dismissed it as "a load of tosh", while Mr Rockett said: "Downton may have a positive effect but, on the other hand, whenever Dot Cotton has a glass of sherry it just reinforces the image of it being a drink for old people."

Aperitif through the ages

1st Century BC First mention of sherry by Strabo, a Greek geographer, who writes about vines being brought to Jerez by the Phoenicians.

16th Century Shakespeare refers to the sherry sack, when Falstaff says in Henry IV, Part II: "If I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack."

17th Century Ben Jonson is appointed Royal Poet in 1619, and awarded "a butt of Sherry Sack" and £200 a year for his verse.

20th Century Sherry exports rise dramatically from 1944 to 1970, but then decline as it goes out of fashion.

21st Century It's back, with sales rising 9 per cent this year.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss