Visiting Jerez to Drink the Local Sherry

Tasting five different sherries, with tapas

 Damian Corrigan

Jerez is a small city, with no renowned museums, not much of an old town with few famous squares or must-see sights as such.

But what Jerez is overflowing with is living culture. Namely flamenco, horses , and sherry.

Sherry was invented in Jerez (the name 'sherry' comes from the Arabic name for Jerez, 'Xeres'. The city was a major wine export to the United Kingdom in the 15th century and is where English families founded many of the Jerez cellars, which accounts for the English influence throughout the city. Based ​in a strong Moorish past, Jerez has an old town and has developed into a modern city with wide palm-lined squares and a quiet elegance. 

Jerez is quite walkable and packed with bodegas to visit, which often include a multi-media presentation and sherry sampling. 

Jerez is in my Must-See Sights in Spain: City by City for its sherry scene. It's worth a night on your way to Cadiz or as a Day Trip from Seville.

Festivals in Jerez include:

  • Late-February/early-MarchFestival de Jerez (flamenco festival): 
  • Mid-May: Jerez Horse Fair
  • Late May: Vinoble Sweet Wine Exhibition
  • Early June: International Sherry Week

Drinking Sherry in Jerez

Sherry is a fortified wine, with a unique manufacturing process that gives it a unique taste no matter whether you're drinking a sweet or a dry variety. To get a full appreciation of this wine, it's recommended you do a guided tour of a sherry bodega. Here you will get an understanding of the full process involved in the various types of sherry.

There are many bodegas in Jerez, with the most famous being Tio Pepe. Tio Pepe is open seven days a week.

All sherry tours include a visit to the cellars where the sherry is produced, with a talk on how the wine is produced and a tasting of one or two sherries at the end. Opening times vary from bodega to bodega and English tours will be available at the larger establishments, but you might need to wait. Booking the above tour will guarantee an English tour at the time agreed.

I Don't Want to Go on a Tour! Can't I Just Drink the Stuff?

Winery tours are not for everyone. If you don't care about what solera means, or why flor is important, then maybe a bodega tour is not for you? There are plenty of great places to drink sherry all over Jerez. Click on to the rest of this article for some examples.

What Else to Do in Jerez

There is a Turkish-style thermal bath (Hammam) in Jerez. There is also a number of nice little museums.

The "Dancing Horses", a regal equestrian ballet, is performed Tuesdays and Thursdays at The Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art.

Before the show, cross the street to the Museo del Enganche. The 30 carriages of English, French, German and Spanish heritage are complemented with high-tech, touch-screen panels, complete with sounds of whinnying horses and jingling bells.

Day Trips and Next Stop from Jerez

Jerez itself is typically viewed as a day trip from elsewhere in the region, but if you are here for a few days, check out Cadiz, which is just a short train ride away. The two could be visited in a single day, though you would need to get your logistics in order to effectively use your limited time.  Seville is about an hour's train ride away.

There are 80 beaches along its coastline, many worthy of the Blue Flag in Europe's Clean Seas program. Spain's 'White Towns' (pueblos blancos) can be seen in this province and are a lovely drive from Jerez.

01 of 06

Tabanco El Pasaje

Tabanco Pasaje in Jerez
(c) Damian Corrigan

'Tabancos' are pretty much unique to Jerez (though there's one now in Seville too). A tabanco sells sherry by the glass as well as offering refills of bottles (from barrels) to take away (known as venta a granel in Spanish). Tabancos also often have flamenco shows. 

Tabanco El Pasaje is the most central tabanco in Jerez and possibly the most fun. They serve small tapas, good sherry and have flamenco several evenings of the week and on Saturday afternoons.

Address: Calle Santa María, 8, 11402 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

Facebook Page

Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06

Tabanco Plateros

Orange trees outside Tabanco Plateros in Jerez
(c) Damian Corrigan

The opening image with the five different sherries? That was taken here. Probably the best place in Jerez to try a selection of sherries (even better than at a bodega), Tabanco Plateros is nicely situated in a beautiful square adorned with orange trees (come in late winter to see the trees with fruit on them). Across the plaza is a beer bar, Gorila, where you can buy beer flavoured with sherry.

Address: Plaza Plateros, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06

Tabanco Pandilla

Vintage refrigerator and cash register at Tabanco Pandilla in Jerez
(c) Damian Corrigan

Tabanco feels like they just opened the doors and blew the dust off the bar after fifty years (erm, apart from the flatscreen TVs showing football, that is). It's one of the most beautifully preserved vintage bars in Spain and a favourite place to sit with a book and a glass of sherry.

Address: Calle Los Valientes, 11403 Jerez De La Frontera, Spain

Facebook Page

Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06

El Guitarron de San Pedro

Brazilian performers at El Guitarron in Jerez
(c) Damian Corrigan

As much a music venue as a place to drink sherry, this place can get very busy at weekends.

Address: Calle Bizcocheros, 16, 11402 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

Facebook Page

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Museo del Ron (Cubaname)

Cubaname, the Museum of Rum
(c) Damian Corrigan

Once you've tasted sherry in its purest form, it's time to get playful with it. Sherry has always been a mainstay of the American cocktail scene (sherry cobblers were the most popular cocktail of the 19th century) and the Spanish are now claiming the drink back in cocktails of their own.

For a light, refreshing cocktail, try the aforementioned sherry cobbler, or ask for Eloy Garcia's own arrumbador, with its two types of sherry and local brandy in the mix, it's three times the Jerez experience!

Address: Avenida Tomás García Figueras 6, Jerez, Spain

Facebook Page

Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06

Xela Beer at Cerveceria El Gorila

Xela Beer
(c) Damian Corrigan

This 'international beer bar' in Plaza Plateros (the same square as the aforementioned Tabanco Plateros) is one of two such bars in Jerez and the only one with any craft beer (though not much). Your choices as a beer fan in Jerez are limited, El Gorila is a great place to visit if you want to try Xela, the first Jerez craft beer, with a subtle touch of sherry added!

Address: Plaza Plateros, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

Ratebeer Page