50’s sherry party

The world is changing, sometimes for the better and sometimes the worse. One of the things that has sadly been largely lost over the decades is the institution of the sherry party. Let’s bring it back!

Undoubtedly there has been a lot of world progress in the last 60 years, but then there has also been some regression it seems.

The sherry party is becoming increasingly popular, for it has a leisurely and gracious atmosphere which many people find attractive.

Oh, how times have changed. Something that was becoming increasingly popular has faded away almost completely, and I’ve never even been to one.

So, if we wanted to bring this great concept then what do we need to do?

I dug out my 1956 good housekeeping guide to find out:

Not everything changed ..

It is advisable to serve both a sweet and a dry sherry, and, if possible, a medium type also. True sherry is made from white grapes grown in the Jerez district of southern Spain; the best pale, dry sherries are usually sold under the names of Amontillado, Manzanilla and Vino de Paso, while the best of the rich, full, dark sherries are Amoroso and Oloroso. Also available are very good South African and Australian sherries, which are considerably cheaper.

Now here is something that hasn’t changed too much, Jerez still makes the best sherries in the world.

Dry sherries are at their best when served slightly chilled (stand them for a short time either on ice or in a refrigerator); the flavour of the sweet sherries, on the other hand, is best appreciated when they are served at room temperature.

This hasn’t changed either, except for the fact that nobody uses the word “refrigerator” anymore.

.. but enough has

Just in case you think that sherry is a bit of a girly drink, then don’t worry. In the fabulous 50’s they had an answer for that as well.

Some of your men guests may not particularly care for sherry, so if possible have a bottle of whisky available, also one or two refreshing “soft” drinks, especially in the summer.

They also apparently had a bit of a shortage of glassware.

If you have only just sufficient glasses, and do not wish to hire extra, it is a good idea to stick a small named label on each, so that your guests will keep the same glass the whole time.

The titbit was alive and well, and not only as a sexual diversion.

Serve titbits and savouries as for a cocktail party- have an abundant supply, and keep them small and dainty, so that they can be easily handled.

Oh, and another slight change, smoking was cool and fashionable.

Have supplies of cigarettes available at several points. in addition to well-known brands, you may like to offer the gay coloured cigarettes obtainable from the bigger tobacconists. It is a good idea to have several cigarette lighters in readiness, in preference to matches, which very quickly make the room look untidy. And finally, do have plenty of good-sized ashtrays, if you value your furniture.

My plan

There can only be one plan, I am going to revive the sherry party concept, starting right now. I’m going to plan a sherry party of my very own, and encourage others to do the same, it’s going to be huge!

So, anyone want to come?

7 thoughts on “50’s sherry party

  • September 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

    John, I’m quoting your 1956 Good Housekeeping Guide in my etsy shop rosesattic1917 in which I’m offering some authentic Sherry Party Invitations in their original package. Thanks for your scholarship. Didn’t we see those “gay coloured cigarettes” in A Single Man?So thrilled to have found you by googling sherry party! As a Southern gal of the baby boom era, I bemoan the death of American home entertaining.

  • September 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

    They are fantastic! Thanks for the link back to here as well Rose 🙂

  • September 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Yesyesyes pleases.

    “gay coloured cigarettes”

    I think that’s a fabulous idea. As is “More ‘John On Food’ posts”

    ps: I’ll be passing though Catalonia in October or November. Are you still in those parts?

    • September 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Yes, still here. Do drop in for gay coloured cigarettes anytime you like.

  • September 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Palma – When fino sherries are being graded those that come up to certain standards of paleness cleanness and dryness have chalked on the butt a sign which looks something like a Y and is meant to represent a palm palma . Palo Cortado – lt has been said by some writers that these sherries can be considered as an intermediate class between finos and olorosos. They have the dry nose which suggests that they might have been amontillados but on the palate they have the body of olorosos.

  • September 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    This all sounds a bit Mad Men to me – do I get to wear pretty frocks?

    • September 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Pretty frocks are obligatory


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