Friday, December 11, 2009

Dry Sack Packs a Punch for Holiday Entertaining

Dry Sack, a medium dry sherry from Spain, is a best selling aperitif and a stylish alternative to white wine. However, these days, Dry Sack is not only enjoyed over ice or straight up. Many top chefs and mixologists have discovered that this versatile sherry is a terrific flavor enhancer for savory dishes and cocktails, adding just the right amount of subtle nutty flavor. For holiday entertaining and beyond (think Super Bowl parties!) here are two recipes featuring Dry Sack as "the secret ingredient" that will be hits at your next party.

Dry Sack Sherry and Soy Sauce Glazed Chicken Wings
3 pounds chicken drumettes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups Dry Sack sherry
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Hot sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion, optional

Arrange 2 racks about 4-inches apart in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Generously oil 2 rimmed baking sheets or roasting pans.

Arrange the drumettes on the baking sheets and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the Dry Sack, soy sauce, preserves and garlic in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in the sesame oil and hot sauce to taste and set aside in the saucepan.

Remove the trays from the oven; carefully spoon 1/4 cup of the hot sherry mixture over the wings to coat the tops and roast another 15 minutes.

Remove the trays from the oven; turn the wings and spoon 1/4 cup sherry mixture to cot the surface. Return the trays to the oven reversing their positions on the two racks. Roast 15 to 20 minutes longer to an internal temperature of 180°F.

Return the sherry mixture to boiling. Loosen the wings from the trays with a spatula and transfer them to a large bowl; toss them with 1/4 cup of the hot sherry mixture and arrange on a serving plate.

Stir the sherry vinegar and scallion, if desired, into the remaining hot sherry mixture and use for a dipping sauce.

Spiced Winter Punch Bowl (serves 10-20 people based on 5 oz. glasses)
Recipe: Chris Hannah, French 75 Bar, Arnaud's, New Orleans

32 oz. (4 cups) gold rum
16 oz. (2 cups) Dry Sack (a little more than half of the 750 ml bottle)
8 oz. (1 cup) clove tea*
8 oz. (1 cup) orange juice
8 oz. (1 cup) lemon juice
4 cups whole cranberries (raw or cooked)
2/3 cups (about 5.5 oz) cinnamon syrup*

Combine ingredients in a large punch bowl with cubed ice.

*To make clove tea, steep 1 tablespoon of whole cloves in 8 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes, strain.

*To make cinnamon syrup, bring one cup of water to boil with 5 cinnamon sticks in the
sauce pan. Once water is at full boil, add 2 cups sugar. Stir until dissolved. When syrup is room temperature take out cinnamon sticks.

Produced since 1906 by the world-renowned winery, Williams & Humbert, in Jerez, Spain - where the world's finest Sherry is exclusively produced - Dry Sack is a distinctive blend of the Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. It is aged a minimum of six years in oak casks under Spain's time-honored solera system of fractional blending. The result is a deep-hued golden color and a balanced flavor, not too dry and not too sweet. Dry Sack is 19.5% alcohol by volume. It is sold in 140 countries. Average retail price is $15.00. Dry Sack is imported by Kindred Spirits of North America, Inc., Miami, FL.

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