One of the funnier moments in the new Miguel Arteta film, Cedar Rapids, takes place in a hotel bar where nerdy Tim Lippe, played by Ed Helms, is drinking a root beer but is pressured by his new friends to join them for a shot of liquor. Not knowing what to order, Lippe impulsively orders a glass of cream sherry. This odd request drew howls from the audience on the night I watched the movie. Does anyone still drink cream sherry?
The answer: Yes. And no.
The most famous cream sherry in America was, for many years, Harveys Bristol Cream, which was heavily advertised on television in the 1960s and '70s as an elegant way to end a fancy dinner party. This clip from a late 1960s TV commercial for the imported Spanish sherry reflects what was considered the ne plus ultra of good taste during the Nixon years.
Harveys Bristol Cream, bottled in England for over 200 years, still has its fans in Kansas City, according to Julie Humar, a bartender at the Capital Grille. "We still get requests for it occasionally and we always have it," she says. But Aaron Confessori, owner of the Westport Cafe & Bar, doesn't carry it on his well-stocked bar: "We had a bottle of it at the Kona Grill when I was a manager there," Confessori says, "and it just collected dust. No one ever ordered it."
Ryan Sciara, owner of the popular Cellar Rat wine store in the Crossroads, doesn't carry Harveys Bristol Cream and never gets any requests for the sherry, which he describes as "sweet, but not as sweet as a port."
"We carry cream sherries," Sciara says, "but artisan varieties, like a Spanish vintage, Alvear. You know who makes a great sherry, though? The Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri. Their cream sherry is a freakin' knockout. It's kind of expensive, but really good."
Image via Flickr: Andrea_44)