A New Year's Day DipAn increasingly popular custom is to go for a swim in the sea on New Year's Day. Of course, these are Northern European waters that you will be swimming in at the coldest possible time of year, in a part of the world that enjoys the same latitude as Canada. It isn't for the faint hearted. On emerging, you'll feel 'invigorated'. Other, more colourful language may also spring to mind, so make sure there's a snifter of sherry on hand to get the circulation going again. Then find a nice open fire, and toast the coming year. It's a great way to celebrate surviving.
90 Minutes on a Rugby TerraceAh the Christmas Derby. The players on the pitch might be warm in shorts and a jersey because they're running about, but you'll be cold in a jacket and gloves. So try taking a bottle of sherry along to the game. Whoever wins, you'll be feeling merry, as the raisiny, toffeeish PX warms up your system.
Carol SingingSome people go round the houses, droning out Christmas hymns long after dark when it may freezing or worse. These people are full of the Christmas spirit. But if you're not and your partner drags you out to be a part of it, bring a little 'Christmas spirit' of your own in a hip flask. The bleak mid Winter's not so bad when you're wrapped in a layer of alcohol.
Building a SnowmanSo, global warming hasn't wiped out the chance of snow just yet. The kids want to build a snowman, and let's face it, you're just pretending you don't want to make one too. Stop being such a scrooge and get out there. Once you've built a ginormous seven foot whopper of an indomitable snow-beast, you may notice your pinkies feeling a tad stiff with cold - particularly after a few snow fights. The answer, of course, is sherry. (Frankly, it's always the answer). Though this is one Christmas treat the kids really can't share with you - sorry junior.
Christmas Eve Late ServicePeople often discover their religious side somewhere between the pubs' kicking out time and the late service on Christmas Eve. Normally empty churches are suddenly filled to the rafters. The singing also has a slight jolly edge to it, which might not be from serious contemplation of the eternal. To help you on the road from tavern to pew, ask the barman for a draft of sherry. It'll set you up something proper for the cold pilgrimage to church.
A Good Warming Sherry:
- Marqués de Poley Cream PX. This sherry is 17% alcohol, which means it'll certainly warm the cockles, but importantly, all that alcohol is preserving a rich burst of figgy, pruney flavours in the bottle.
- Pérez Barquero Pedro Ximénez. As this example is in the premium end of the market, consider giving it to someone you like a lot, or better still, keeping it to yourself. The 21% ABV is supporting such a wealth of toffeeish, raisiny flavour that Robert Parker gave the wine 94 points.
Drink Sherry When You're Warm TooThe above makes an excellent case for drinking sherry during cold weather. There are also several many great reasons to drink it when you're warm as well, and one of them will be when you're snug inside while enjoying a good warm pudding. Here's some great food pairing ideas for Pedro Ximénez sherry.