I also like to drink sherry as it is, a custom that’s particularly wonderful to do if you get a chance to visit Spain, where it’s often served right from the casks. A long cylindrical “scooper” is dipped into the sherry cask and the venenciador swings it up and pours it into a glass, sometimes without even looking!

Note that they make look easier than it is. I tried to swipe a glass of sherry from a cask at my host’s place in Spain when they weren’t around and made a mess all over the outside of the barrel trying to pour the sherry into my glass with that little cylinder. I can’t imagine doing it from any sort of distance.

In Sherry, Talia offers up this recipe for the New Spain, which may very well become my cocktail for the summer. The Rosemary Gimlet was my cocktail for the winter, mostly because Romain kept insisting that I make them again and again. But I think it’s time to shake things up a little around here.

Talia gave me a super tip for making big, chunky ice cubes, the sort of fancy kind that don’t melt fast in your drink, and water it down. (Although I tend to drink fast, faster than ice melts.) You can buy ice cube trays to make those large cubes, but you can also freeze water in a loaf pan then remove it from the pan, envelop it in a clean kitchen towel, and whack it with a rolling pin. Open the towel and you’ll have big chunks of ice to use in your cocktails. Nifty, huh? She did say scoring it first would make them break into cubes, but I didn’t mind the iceberg-like floaters in my New Spain cocktails.

I recently got a copy of Talia’s newest book, Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo, written with co-author Leslie Pariseau (Talia is also the editor for Punch, an award-winning website about cocktails and spirits that I recently wrote an article for), and I was wowed by a few of the spritz’s that I sampled from it. Like sherry, she’s on a mission to give the spritz a little more pr, too.

I’ll have to admit that I’m a bad blogger, and not in danger of winning any awards, because I didn’t get a nice shot of the cocktail glasses when they were frosty cold, and full of New Spains. Why not? Because we were too busy drinking them. However I guarantee that if you mix yourself up a few, you’ll have a hard time sitting back and admiring them, too.