In addition to making generous use of the newly invented drinking straw, the 19th-century cobbler is credited with introducing the modern-day cocktail shaker. Previously, most bartenders used the Boston shaker, which consists of two different-size bar glasses placed one on top of the other, but the cobbler-style shaker—nearly identical to the single-unit, two-cap style found in most home bars—became popular alongside this drink, allowing for quick straining. Incidentally, the strainer was important because the cobbler was most likely the first drink to have been shaken with ice, which arrived at local bars around 1840.
The cobbler, which is said to have been the 19th century’s most popular cocktail, represents a broad category of colorful mixtures that incorporated fresh fruit and fortified wine or spirits as its base liquor. While the mixing method has moved from muddling the fruit with liqueurs and syrups in the 19th century to shaking the liquid ingredients then garnishing with the fruit, the result is a vibrant and light-on-alcohol refreshment.
“Using fresh fruit, whatever’s in season, makes all the difference in the world,” says Bridget Albert, master mixologist at Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois. “My grandmother was a bartender, and back in her day, they would only use what was growing in their garden. And we’re seeing that whole mentality coming back.”