The Story Behind The Rum Cobbler
Easy to make, easier to drink, and eye-catching to boot, the Cobbler and the Julep were among the first concoctions to establish a distinctly American approach to making and enjoying cocktails. First popularized in the taverns and entertainment palaces of 1830s New York, Cobblers and Juleps were also the first cocktails to cross over into the “fancy drink” category; prepared not only to be delicious, but a feast for the eyes.
Served on pellet ice and festooned with copious amounts of mint and fresh fruits, both cocktails were showpieces for any bar that wanted to show off its drink-making prowess with a touch of flash. The experience of drinking a Cobbler or a Julep — which were the drinks de rigeur at bars attached to nightclubs, theaters, or race tracks where today’s equivalent of the leisure set gathered — was intended to be a form of entertainment in and of itself.
While it is more common today to prepare these classic drinks with sherry and bourbon, respectively, rum was a popular choice when these cocktails were initially introduced. These drinks — also the first to be served with straws — caused such a stir that they received mention in international press (another cocktail first). The Julep attracted such a cult of devotees, a friend sharing a recipe with another often did so in the form of a long, affectionate letter. As a Southern girl, this is a sentiment and approach that I can wholeheartedly get behind.
This recipe originally appeared in the VinePair article, "Taste American History With Classic Rum Drinks and Contemporary Riffs," written by Shannon Mustipher.
- 2 ounces aged Barbados rum, such as Mount Gay Eclipse
- 1 ounce rich simple syrup
- ½ ounce lime juice
- Berries and seasonal fruit, for garnish
- In a chilled Collins glass (or Julep tin), combine mint and syrup, then muddle.
- Add lime juice and ¾ ounce rum.
- Fill the vessel halfway full with ice, then stir to chill.
- Add remaining spirits and more ice; stir to chill.
- Garnish for a Julep: a fistfull (go big here) of fresh mint, optionally dipped in edible gold flakes or confectioners' sugar.
- Garnish for a Cobbler: same as above, with the addition of an orange flag and seasonal fruits (typically berries).