The last 150 years have brought us many excellent things with which to while away the idle hours: recorded music, motion pictures, Twitter, video games, the drama-rich doings of the celebrity du jour. 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 also supplied such innovations as the Martini and Piña Colada.
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 the weather turned repulsive (well, OK, they had 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 with ice like the Devil himself was whipping you on. Serve with a straw, if you like. (It was probably the Sherry Cobbler that got us using those suckers in the first place.)
Nothing more refreshing has ever been created. I’ll take a good Cobbler over video games and the celebrity antics any day. Although if I could, I’d have all three.
3 ounces dry amontillado sherry
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 orange half-wheel
Garnish: orange wheel
Add the sherry, simple syrup, and orange half-wheel to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. (Note: If using a sweeter sherry, reduce the amount of simple syrup.)
Shake brutally (this will muddle the orange), then strain into a highball glass filled with fresh crushed ice.
Garnish the drink with an additional orange wheel.