I've been devouring Dale DeGroff's book The Craft of the Cocktail lately (as of this writing); it spent far too much time packed up in a box during the moving and unpacking ordeal in early '03. Besides helping me learn new things, it's helping me learn old things too. For instance ... cobblers! They were a class of drink unto themselves in the 19th Century, when "cocktail" meant one particular type of drink -- whiskey or brandy, sugar, water and bitters. There were lots of types of drinks: daisy, flip, sangaree, smash, sling, etc. A cobbler (as served by Jerry Thomas in 1862) was some type of spirit or wine sweetened with sugar, shaken with seasonal fresh fruit, garnished with more fruit and served over ice. Dale has improved on the cobbler technique by muddling fresh fruit in the shaker with the drink ingredients, then decorating the drink with new, fresh fruit. The result is very, very refreshing.

You can make cobblers with just about anything: gin, whiskey, port, sherry, champagne, etc. Here's the brandy version we had and enjoyed the night of my first cobbler experiment.

2 wedges fresh pinapple (one without skin for muddling; one with skin for garnish)
2 wedges orange
2 wedges lemon
3/4 ounce raspberry syrup (such as Smucker's, Torani, Monin, etc.) or raspberry liqueur
2 ounces brandy or Cognac (we use Hennessey V.S. for cocktails)
1 ounce water

Muddle the skinless pineapple wedge and one each orange and lemon wedges
in a shaker with the raspberry syrup or liqueur and the water. Pound the
living hell out of it so that you extract oil from the citrus peel, as well
as juice from the fruit. Add the brandy plus ice, then shake vigorously.

Strain into a large, double Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed or cracked
ice. Garnish the drink with the remaining orange and lemon wedges and the
pineapple wedge.

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Chuck Taggart   email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com