The Sherry Cobbler is an American cocktail probably first made in the 1830’s.  It was hugely popular in its native land but was, also incredibly popular in Melbourne during the Gold rush years, between 1851 and through to the end of the 1860’s .  Gold brought both a vast increase in the population and in the wealth of the population. And where there are miners and money?  There will be booze.

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Nowadays, sherry is seen as an old lady’s drink.  However, this was not always the case.  Back in the 1960’s all the cool kids were drinking it. 

Vintage advert in 1960s magazine dated 1964 for DRY SACK Spanish sherry. Image shot 1964. Exact date unknown.And 100 years before them it was the turn of these boys.

MinersDry Sack sounds more like a painful affliction than something I would want to drink so I used a Fino Sherry for my Cobbler but you can use but you can use whatever you have. The Sherry Cobbler consists of Sherry, sugar, fruit and a little sprinkle of nutmeg.

Sherry Cobbler4Now, I can quite easily imagine our 1960’s poolside pleasure seekers enjoying a Sherry Cobbler or two.  But the miners?  Surely not.  Least of all because you would think all the fruit would get stuck in their beards.  But apparently back in the 1850’s it was the most popular mixed drink in the world.

However, those miners were pretty wily.  Is it a pure coincidence that the Sherry Cobbler, according to this article, was the drink that popularised the use of the straw. Or was it just a solution to fruit in beard syndrome?

Sherry Cobbler3But right from the start I promised you crazy and miners sipping sherry through straws is not crazy.  It’s adorable but not crazy. 

So let’s get crazy.  The Sherry Cobbler is poured over crushed ice.  Except back in the day there was no ice in Melbourne.  We are a temperate climate and Melbourne’s first iceplant didn’t open until 1860.  But dammit if those miners didn’t want their Sherry Cobblers served as the Good Lord intended them.  So, ice was imported from America.  Specifically, huge ice cubes were cut from the frozen lakes in Massachusetts, packed in sawdust and shipped to Melbourne to satisfy the Sherry Cobbler yearnings of the miners.

Not crazy enough?  In a land where there was no ice, how common do you think those new fangled devices called straws were?  Pretty damn non-existent apparently.  So how did those quick witted miners get around that little dilemma?

They used pieces of macaroni as straws.

Yep. For real. 

For serious.

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Macaroni.

Can you imagine anything more delightful than the five gentlemen above out on a night on the tiles sipping their Sherry Cobblers through macaroni straws?

The Sherry Cobbler is a lovely tipple too.  It would be a great day drink as it’s not too boozy.   And certainly not a drink just for your maiden aunt

Ditch the macaroni straw though.  It was useless. 

Sherry Party (2)

Sherry Cobbler
A classic American cocktail took a turn for the crazy in Mebourne's gold rush years.
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Ingredients
  1. 100g Sherry - I used Fino
  2. Crushed ice - about half a tray of ice blocks
  3. 1 tbsp caster sugar
  4. 3 strawberries, 2 chopped, one left whole for garnish
  5. 1 orange
  6. Nutmeg, to sprinkle
  7. Macaroni (optional)
Instructions
  1. Slice the end off the orange, then slice a round from it to form the garnish. Segment the rest of the orange, removing the pith.
  2. Stir the sherry with the caster sugar until the sugar melts. Add the chopped strawberries and orange segments.
  3. Fill your cup with crushed ice, pour the sherry and fruit mixture over the top.
  4. Garnish with the whole strawberry and orange slice.
  5. Sprinkle some ground nutmeg over the top.
  6. For authenticity, drink through a macaroni straw.
  7. Enjoy!
Adapted from Flavours of Melbourne - Charmaine O'Brien, Wakefield Press, 2008
Adapted from Flavours of Melbourne - Charmaine O'Brien, Wakefield Press, 2008
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Unless otherwise indicated, all the facts in the above about Melbourne, ice, straws and macaroni come from a wonderful book called Flavours of Melbourne by Charmaine O’Brien (Wakefield Press, 2008).  This book is awesome.  There will be more recipes from it for sure.

Any errors or omissions and all the hyperbole are mine alone. 

The weekend’s coming – what are you up to?

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

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