Sherry Cobbler

The drink that popularized the straw.

sherry cobbler cocktail recipe

The Sherry Cobbler is an American-born cocktail by most accounts. Simply sherry, sugar and citrus, shaken, poured over crushed ice and slurped through a straw, the Cobbler is thought to have originated sometime in the 1820s or early 1830s. But like most 19th century drinks, its origins are foggy.

Cocktail historian David Wondrich is credited with digging up the first-known mention of the Sherry Cobbler from the 1838 diary of Katherine Jane Ellice, a Canadian who took note of the drink while traveling in the U.S. But its great launching pad to international renown came courtesy of Charles Dickens and his The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44). In a scene now famous among cocktail dorks, Chuzzlewit, reacting to his first Sherry Cobbler, sums up the 19th-century sentiment around the drink: “Martin took the glass with an astonished look; applied his lips to the reed; and cast up his eyes once in ecstasy. He paused no more until the goblet was drained to the last drop. ‘This wonderful invention, sir,’ said Mark, tenderly patting the empty glass, ‘is called a cobbler. Sherry Cobbler when you name it long; cobbler, when you name it short.’” Certainly Chuzzlewit was astonished at the drink’s beauty, but also at the act of sipping through a straw—a novel concept at the time. Were it not for the Sherry Cobbler, which is credited with introducing the straw to popular consciousness, we might still be dumping ice down our chins to get to the bottom of a drink.

Ingredients

Serving: 1

  • 3 1/2 ounces sherry (preferably amontillado)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 or 3 orange slices

Garnish: seasonal berries, mint and a straw
Glassware: Collins

Directions
  1. Add oranges and sugar to a mixing glass, muddle.
  2. Add sherry and ice, shake.
  3. Strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with seasonal berries, mint and a straw.
Editor's Note

The Sherry Cobbler is incredibly easy to riff on and are highly adaptable to the seasonal fruit at hand. High summer might call for raspberries muddled with lemon, while fall is for cranberries and orange. Furthermore, crushed ice is preferred for this drink, but you can get away with a pile of smaller ice cubes as well. Switch up the sherry and adjust the simple syrup to your taste. Demerara simple syrup is not always a necessary detail, but it tends to play nice with oloroso and amontillado.

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Related Punch A-Z

Sherry

(n.) A fortified wine of 15 to 22-percent alcohol by volume made in the Jerez region of southern Spain, sherry comes in a range of styles from lean and light in weight to sweet and viscous, plus a bit of everything in between. Prized by sommeliers and bartenders for its versatility in both food pairing [...] More A-Z →
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