The Cobbler is the elder statesman of summer cocktails. At its core, the Cobbler is a sour-style cocktail (spirit, citrus, sugar), which has spawned a host of delicious descendants. The most popular type during the drink's hey day was the Sherry Cobbler. This libation was first chronicled by Jerry Thomas in his ground-breaking How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivants Companion (1862).
According to drinks historian David Wondrich in Imbibe!, the Sherry cobbler is the, “Basic trunk from which all other Cobblers branched.” Wondrich’s research indicates that the origins of the Cobbler moniker may trace to “cobbles” of ice, which became more common by the 1830s. This style of cocktail had a fifty-year run of popularity before fading into obscurity. As late as 1888, Harry Johnson continues to proclaim the Cobbler as the most popular cocktail in the United States in his Bartender’s Manual.
Sherry Cobbler (circa 1850)
Adapted from Jerry Thomas’ recipe
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 or 3 orange slices
4 oz Sherry (Fino or amontillado)
Tools: Mixing tins, jigger, pairing knife, champagne flute
Method: Combine simple, orange wedges, and sherry into mixing tins. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Pour unstrained into tall glass. Garnish with seasonal berries and orange peel. Serve with straw.
One modern variation of the fortified wine Cobbler is La Coquette, developed for French spirits aperitif Lillet, which is absolutely refreshing a hot summer day. It also is produced using the classic Cobbler method and ingredients.
The English translation of La Coquette is a woman who makes teasing sexual or romantic overtures, in other words, a flirt. The La Coquette Cobbler is the perfect introduction to Lillet Rosé; Maison Lillet’s first new product in fifty years. No need to tease with this drink, you will fall in love with Lillet’s fruit-forward profile. There is also a hint of quinine that is balanced by Aperol Aperitif’s citrus and root bitterness, bringing out the strawberry and lemon. There is no need to strain a Cobbler since the bits of fruit adds to the refreshing nature of the cocktail. Simply shake with ice and pour the entire mixture into a wine glass or for added summer feel, a mason jar/glass.
Lillet Rosé (17% ABV) is an aperitif produced in Podensac, France by the venerable Maison Lillet (founded in 1872), a William Grant Portfolio company. The Rosé is a blend of red and white Grand Cru Bordeaux wines which are used to produce Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge. Grapes used in these blends include Muscatel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. The wine is then infused with light liqueurs macerated with sweet and bitter orange peels plus a secret blend of Lillet fruit cordials. A small amount of quinine is added to the final blend. Color and taste are made consistent using traditional Champagne blending methods. The result is a fruit forward aperitif with notes of ripe berry wildflower, melon, finished with sweet and bitter citrus notes.
Aperol Aperitivo (11% ABV) was originally produced by Fratelli Barbieri in Padova, Italy until purchased by Campari. While Aperol was originally created in 1919, it was a regional brand of amaro and did not achieve success in the rest of Italy until the 1950s with the advent of the Aperol Spritz cocktail (Aperol, prosecco, club soda, olive garnish). Aperol has a unique orange color with prominent ingredients including a proprietary mix of gentian root, rhubarb, bitter and sweet orange peel, and cinchona.
Muddled seasonal fruit (strawberry), citrus, and simple syrup are standard Cobbler ingredients. The recipe (see below) calls for fresh strawberries (or very ripe regular strawberries) which combines with the simple syrup and lemon to make a very well-balanced cocktail that is not overly sweet or sour. The Lillet flavor profile is not lost but rather enhanced by the fruit, citrus, and simple. The Aperol balances the sweetness by adding a hint of bitterness.
Adapted for Lillet Rosé
1/4 oz simple syrup
4 strawberry halves
4 lemon wedges
1/2 oz Aperol
2 oz Lillet Rosé
Tools: Mixing tins, jigger, short mason jar or wine glass, straw, muddler
Method: Add all ingredients except the Lillet to mixing tin and muddle the fruit gently. Add Lillet and top with ice. Shake vigorously and empty into a frosted glass. Garnish with a strawberry.
*Got a cocktail question? Reach Fredo on twitter @loungerati, email me at fredo(at)loungerati(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below!
**Fredo Ceraso is the editor-at-large of the lounge lifestyle blog Loungerati.com. Fredo is a member of the USBG New York chapter and rolls drinks at many Lounge, Swing, Jazz Age, & Burlesque events in New York City