Food & Drink

Sherry O’Clock


Recently I’ve acquired a bit of a soft spot for sherry. I know – it’s come as a bit of a shock to me as well, and initially it was not something I cared to admit. And yet what I once thought of as synonymous with old ladies at Christmas has now become my saviour.

Not long ago I was gritting my teeth through a particularly grueling week of unemployment, where to be told to keep my head up one more time would possibly send me to breaking point. Having reached my quota in tolerance for searching, hunting, writing, editing, applying, umming, ahhing and sighing, I found myself unable to plod on no more.

Luckily for me, my mother had noticed.

“Glass of sherry?” She asked, her pitch high as if she had already indulged, but also indicating that she was ignoring my protruding lower lip.

I’ve had the occasional glass in the past, on a cold wintry eve and whatnot, but never before had I understood it. Until now.

In waltzed my mother with the sherry, placing it on the table next to me before leaving the room, humming, to carry on with whatever it was she was doing. Reluctantly I took a sip, and I swear within that second something mystical happened, as if a higher power was finally taking the hint and had very suddenly decided to intervene.

I’ve always seen myself as a gin gal when times get tough, seeing as it’s got a pretty sturdy reputation for wallowing with you. But sherry? Jeepers, it slaps you round the face with something (a strange brand of happiness, I think), taking no prisoners as it sweeps you up into a stream of completely unexpected optimism. Much like the distraction tactics people use for small children when they begin to cry, there’s barely time to even try and force a tear out before the glass is finished. At first it’s completely confusing, and then you find yourself going along with it, forgetting all the misery and sorrow that was felt just moments ago.

It also didn’t take long for me to notice that the effects of sherry can be likened to those of my mother, whose pep talks are less peppy and more: “Pull yourself together and cheer up”. As I sit there with a face like a slapped arse, she offers neither overwhelming sympathy nor undeserved affection, opting instead for the proactive, semi-tough love approach that a glass of sherry also subscribes to – one that subtly pops that protruding lip back in so that we can all get on with our day. Indeed, my mother is a glass of sherry, humming and waltzing in and out of rooms so as to baffle the bad mood into submission.

Of course, I’m not trying to commit anyone to a life of alcoholism or dependency. On the contrary, I believe, as sherry asks for only 50ml (or thereabouts) of your thirst, and on a fairly irregular basis at that. I may be about 60 years too early, but somehow I don’t think I particularly mind.

Just don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, for this is one warming tipple that kicks you in the old metaphorical balls. In a good way, of course.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jess_Hardiman


One thought on “Sherry O’Clock

  1. Pingback: Recipe: Mulled lamb shanks | Sherry O'Clock

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