The last 150 years have brought us many excellent things with which to while away the idle hours: recorded music, motion pictures, Twitter, Wii, the drama-rich doings of Lindsay Lohan. We’ve got air conditioning now, which–although it cuts down on one traditional recreation— cursing bitterly at the weather—has made life indoors more tolerable. For those of us whose recreation includes savoring an alcoholic beverage, that century-and-a-half has supplied such innovations as the Martini, the Piña Colada and the Irish Car Bomb.
We’ve lost a few things, too, and I’m not referring to dignity and literacy. (I’m a drink writer and we don’t talk about that kind of stuff.) In this case, I mean the Sherry Cobbler. It’s not a particularly amusing name for a drink, but beggars can’t be choosers, especially not sweltering ones. People back in the 1830s, when the Cobbler first turned up, didn’t have air conditioning, or even Vornado fans. This drink was all they had when things got repulsive out (well, OK, it and the Mint Julep). While we like to think that back then, before there were cars and traffic lights and iWhatnots, you could be as drunk as a boiled owl and still go about your day, there were a few poor souls who couldn’t.
For them, since there’s nothing more endrunkening than a Julep, there was the Cobbler. A good-sized splash of sherry, which has all the flavor of booze but less than half the horsepower, a little sugar and a slice or two of orange, shaken up with ice like the Devil himself was whipping you on. Don’t forget the straw! (In fact, it was probably the Sherry Cobbler that got us using those things in the first place.) Nothing more refreshing has ever been created. I’ll take a good Cobbler over the Wii and Lindsay Lohan any day. Although if I could have all three…
Contributed by David Wondrich
.25 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
3 oz Dry Amontillado sherry (Lustau)
1 Half orange wheel
Garnish: Orange wheel
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake brutally (this will muddle the orange), and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Pierce another orange wheel with a straw and insert both into the drink. (Note: If using a sweeter sherry, use less sugar in the simple syrup.)
David Wondrichis the author of the award-winning book Imbibe!and Esquire magazine’s Drinks Correspondent. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.