From the Savoy Cocktail Book:


The cobbler is, like the Julep, a drink of American origin, although it is now an established favourite, particularly in warm climes. It is very easy to make, but it is usual to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as the palate, by decorating the glass after the ingredients are mixed. The usual recipe for preparing Cobblers is given below. To make a Whisky Cobbler substitute Whisky for Gin, For a Brandy Cobbler, substitute Brandy, and so on.

Fill glass half full with cracked ice.
Add 1 Teaspoonful of Powdered Sugar.
Add 1 Small Glass of Gin (or Whisky, or Brandy, as above).
Stir well, and decorate with slices of orange or pineapple.

The above comes mostly verbatim from Jerry Thomas’ “Bartender’s Guide”.

The Cobbler was probably an old fashioned drink by the time Jerry Thomas got around to writing about it in 1862. He includes 7 variations in his 1862 book, basically all identical: Sherry Cobbler, Champagne Cobbler, Catawba Cobbler, Hock Cobbler, Claret Cobbler, Sauterne Cobbler, and Whiskey Cobbler.

98. Sherry Cobbler

(Use large bar glass.)

2 wine-glasses of sherry.
1 table-spoonful of sugar.
2 or 3 slices of orange.
Fill a tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, and ornament with berries in season. Place a straw as represented in the wood-cut.

I wasn’t really feeling the Sherry Cobbler and am unclear about if I could even find Hock or Catawba. Champagne seemed a little hackneyed and the Whiskey Cobbler like Thomas was throwing a bone to modern taste by including a Cobbler based on spirits instead of wine.

I thought about a Port Cobbler, which sounded nice, but my favorite old fashioned wine is Madeira. So, over my lunch hour, I dropped by to pay the lovely women of Cask Store a visit and scored a new bottle of Madeira.

Madeira Cobbler.
4 oz Blandy’s 10 Year Malmsey Madeira
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup

Half fill a mixing glass with cracked ice. Add Madeira and simple Syrup. Pour back and forth between mixing glass and serving glass a couple times, finishing in serving glass. Ornament with slices of orange and berries, in season. Serve with a straw.

In “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash…” David Wondrich makes a couple notes regarding Cobblers in Imbibe, and I’ve been re-reading another couple things online. First off, it was one of the couple first American drinks to really make an impact on European and especially English drinkers. There are several references to Cobbler drinking in the works of authors as notable as Charles Dickens. Second, it was THE drink that introduced the straw to the world.

If there is a mistake that modern mixers make with the cobbler, it is that they make it too strong, either by using spirits in the drink, or by making it too concentrated with additional citrus juice or liqueurs and syrups. The Cobbler, like punch, is a sort of “session drink”. The Cobbler, especially, should be a light, refreshing, cold drink that you can enjoy at lunch on a hot day and still go about your business for the rest of the afternoon.

Americans, with our obsession with intense, strong flavors, often have a hard time wrapping our minds around the aesthetics of subtlety or mild flavors in drinks and food. One of the hardest lessons for us to learn is when to stop adding ingredients, flavors, and additional complexity to our beverages or dishes. We tend to say, “If it’s good, it’s better with bacon. If it’s better with bacon, it’s would be really awesome with cheese. If it’s good with bacon and cheese, it really could use some avocado to make it pop… Oh hell, just put some Foie Gras on it.”

If you are a bartender, or a drink mixer, the Cobbler is a pretty good place to start to teach yourself to appreciate austerity and simplicity, as long as you resist the temptation to add any additional ingredients. Save your creativity for the garnish.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Savoy Sangaree

Savoy Sangaree
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 tsp Caster Sugar)
1 Glass of Sherry or Port. (2 oz Cossart and Gordon 5 Year Bual Madeira)
Stir well and strain into medium size glass, add slice of orange or lemon peel, and a little nutmeg on top. (Errr… Muddle Sugar in a like amount of water until dissolved. Add piece of ice, pour over Madeira. Stir until chilled and top with 1 oz Chilled Soda Water. Drape on Horse’s Neck of Orange and freshly grated nutmeg.

Well, that’s interesting, the fact that the Savoy bothers to list a branded version of the Sangaree! To me, that seems to indicate that it was still being made at the Hotel, or at least lingered in their bar book, by the time the Savoy Cocktail Book was written in 1930!

For this post, I’m going to lean a bit heavily on the shoulders of two of my inspirations in the cocktail writing field, Paul Clarke and Ted Haigh.

The History of Sangaree Cocktails, Ted Haigh, Imbibe Magazine

According to this article, the earliest mention of the Sangaree was around 1736 as some sort of Madeira punch served in the Strand District of London (adjacent to the Theaters and Savoy Hotel!) Well, if that was the earliest version, I believe that base is where I will start, especially since Port Wine and Sherry Sangarees are covered in the next two drinks.

However, a more interesting description comes in 1785, where someone describes an Arrack Punch as a Sangaree.

Certainly by 1785 the strange drink, now called sangaree, was thoroughly equated with the Antilles islands and with Spain. Several dictionaries now listed the word and pointed to the West Indies as its place of residence. It had also achieved a fuller definition and one obliging it more to punch than wine. The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, published that year, wrote, “Sangaree: Rack punch was formerly so called in bagnios.” Well, a bagnio in this sense was a brothel, and the “rack” punch referred to the arrack that was the first of five elements in classic punch: arrack, citrus fruits, spices, cane sugar and water. The arrack in the dictionary was not the anise-tinged spirit of the Middle East but the father of modern rum, Batavia Arrack from the Antilles, Java specifically. Given this definition, the sangaree was a single-serving punch!

Well, not much to go on, but according to Ted, by 1837, recipes similar to the Sangaree had begun to appear in print as in, “Directions For Cookery In Its Various Branches” by a Miss Leslie, “Mix in a pitcher or in tumblers one-third of wine, ale or porter, with two-thirds of water either warm or cold. Stir in sufficient loaf-sugar to sweeten, and grate some nutmeg into it.”

Interesting really, that Wine, Ale or Porter can be used as a base for the Sangaree, but 2/3 water to 1/3 Wine, Ale or Porter? That’s some weak sauce to modern tastes, why on earth would you dilute beer, unless you were feeding invalids or children? In 1867, the Professor, Jerry Thomas is a bit more circumspect, prescribing that just about any base spirit may to be used as a base for a Sangaree, irrespective of that making it an identical recipe to his Slings. Well, due respect to Mr. Thomas, but that is just a bit Catholic of him.

As things go, I’m going to propose that the Sangaree be limited to non-spirituous bases: Wine, Fortified Wine, or, well, if you are feeling particularly perverse, beer. A little citrus peel won’t hurt anyone, or, as was the style of the 19th Century, maybe “berries, in season.” If you’re going to use distilled spirits, you might as well go ahead and call it a Sling (or Toddy).

The only thing I will further note, is that by 1867, when Jerry Thomas published his cocktail guide he offers one improvement over Ms. Leslie, using Ice to cool the drink, instead of water, and a fine, fine improvement that is, especially with a drink already somewhat dilute!

Port Wine Sangaree, Paul Clarke, Cocktail Chronicles

OK, at least half of the appeal of making this drink is the opportunity to say (or in this case, write) “Sangaree.” If you’re looking for a new way to get tossed out of a bar, you could do worse than making it a habit to stroll in, rap loudly on the bartop with your knuckles and shout, “Barman! A Port Wine SAN-GAREE, extra nutmeg, s’il vous plait — and keep ‘em comin’!”

And that’s why these men actually get paid to write articles!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Robin Wood

I was recently perusing Camper English‘s article on Scotch in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine, when I ran across an appealing sounding cocktail:

Robin Wood

2 oz Auchentoshan 10 Year
1/2 oz Madeira
1/2 oz Aperol
1 tsp Grand Marnier
3 drops Orange bitters

Stir with ice to chill, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist and raisins.
Created by Humberto Marques for Oloroso bar in Edinburgh.

Scotch cocktails, aside from the Rob Roy, Blood and Sand, Bobby Burns, and Affinity are pretty rare, but this one sounded right up my alley, so…

Robin Wood

2 oz Highland Park 12
1/2 oz Justino’s Rainwater Madeira
1/2 oz Aperol
1 tsp. Grand Marnier
3 drops Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir, strain, Meyer Lemon Zest, Port Plumped Cherry.

I don’t have a bottle of Auchentoshan, which is a Lowland Scotch, and am not entirely sure that substituting Highland Park, which is an Orkney Scotch, is a great choice. But I’m not about to run out and buy another bottle of Single Malt Scotch just to experiment with this cocktail.

They didn’t say what sort of Madeira to use, but the Justino’s Rainwater Madeira seemed appealing.

Aperol is an Italian bitter aperitif (or Amaro) similar to Campari. It’s a bit sweeter, milder, and more orangey than Campari. Some people describe it as a “gateway” Amaro.

Along with Cointreau, Grand Marnier is one of the grand old French Orange liqueurs. Because the orange perfume is blended with Cognac, it is often thought to be a more elegant spirit than the sharp, single noted orange of Cointreau. To my mind, they both have their places in the mixologists arsenal. Some suggest that Grand Marnier is the best choice when confronted with the term “Curacao”, especially in 19th Century cocktail recipes.

The Angostura Orange Bitters are only recently available in the US, and are a very fine choice.

I had meyer lemons around the house for something I was making for dinner, so they seemed like an interesting choice for the zest. Indeed, their piney funk combined intriguingly with the peaty flavors of the Highland Park Scotch.

I was making a Port and Cherry sauce for some duck breasts. I had combined about a dozen dried bing cherries with a cup of Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port, a half cup of Cherry Heering, a half cup of Lustau Brandy, and a quarter cup of sugar. Reduced it by half. The sauce and cherries were hanging out on the stove waiting for the duck to be done. The cherries turned out to be pretty darn delicious, so in one went instead of the raisins. They were actually tasty enough, I might have to use them as house cherries going forward!

Also picked up these nice Fostoria glasses on our recent trip to Arizona. I’d really liked this pattern when Neyah brought out some similar glasses making Savoy Cocktails at NOPA, so I was particularly pleased to run across a few stems at an Antique store in Scottsdale.

This is a very nice cocktail! I think a slightly milder scotch combined with a more assertive Madeira might kick it up just a notch, but I liked it just fine as it is.