Harveys: 5 things you didn’t know about Britain’s favourite sherry

We’ve happily been sipping sherry for donkey’s years, and generally from a petite wine glass served at room temperature. But Harveys Bristol Cream (£8.99, 75cl, Waitrose) is looking to give the cream sherry category a stylish new lease of life.

Tying in with its Spanish roots, the iconic blue bottle has been given a makeover with a thermochromic ink logo (aka a colour-changing label) that tells you when it’s hit the perfect serving temperature: Ice cold, the way the Spanish drink it.

“While people may associate it with the family Christmas trifle recipe, sherry is being enjoyed as an aperitif before a meal, as an accompaniment to tapas dishes, or as a long drink with lemonade and fresh seasonal fruits when entertaining friends,” says Jen McCormick, head of sherry brands at Whyte & Mackay.

Harveys with lemonade and fresh seasonal fruits

“It’s time to start drinking Harveys the way it’s enjoyed in Spain – chilled, and poured over ice in a large wine glass, topped with a slice of orange.”

Launched in 1882, the original Harveys ‘The Bristol Cream’ recipe hasn’t changed and is still a complete, balanced and complex blend of fine wines from Spain’s acclaimed sherry region, Jerez, namely: delicate finos, aged amontillados, fragrant olorosos, and wine from the sweet pedro ximenez grape.

And serving it chilled opens up a whole new taste experience, unlocking the sherry’s rich, mellow and long-lasting finish.

Here’s what else you should know about Harveys…

1. It’s named after two Bristolian brothers

Harveys gets its name from two Bristolian brothers – Edward and John Harvey II – who decided to rewrite the rule-book of old-style ‘Bristol Milk’ sherry. Their maverick re-invention proved such a sensation that a local aristocrat pronounced it ‘The Cream’ – the name it’s now known by all over the world.

2. Harveys should be served cold in a large wine glass

The best way to serve Harveys is to keep it in the fridge and serve it chilled, over ice, in a large wine glass, with a slice of orange. Once opened, the sherry will last up to three months.

3. Harveys is versatile and food friendly

While we may love a well laced trifle, there’s so much more to Harveys than pairing it with puddings and mince pies. The elixir of nutty raisin notes works like a dream with savoury snacks such as olives, rich and salty manchego cheese, cold meats and a generous splash will liven up a beef consommé, too.

4. Sherry has a long Royal association

John Harvey & Sons was granted a royal warrant as supplier of fine wine to Queen Victoria in 1895 and has supplied the Royal Household with sherry ever since.

5. One of the perks of being a Poet Laureate is a butt of sherry

The Poet Laureate, an official office of the Royal Household, is paid in sherry, at a rate of one butt of sherry per year, the equivalent of 720 bottles. The tradition dates back to 1619, and Carol Ann Duffy is the latest in a long line of Poet Laureates to accept an annual gift of sherry from Spain.

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