The Weekly Mix: King's Cobbler

by Emily Bell
Will Blunt
December 2011



936 St Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 962-0900

“The cobbler was the most popular drink in America for over 100 years,” says Neal Bodenheimer, Cure co-founder and general cocktail history enthusiast. With the opening of Bellocq, the lounge (named for a sneaky red light district photographer) in Klaus Ortlieb’s just-opened Nola-chic Hotel Modern, Bodenheimer and fellow Cure co-founders Kirk Estopinal and Matthew Kohnke have a chance to bring the cobbler back to its rightful popularity.

The King's Cobbler

The King's Cobbler by Neal Bodenheimer of Cure - New Orleans, LA

And it's kind of refreshingly off-trend. “If you think about the majority of cocktails that have been rediscovered and interpreted by the modern mixologist,” Bodenheimer says, “a lot of them are proof-heavy.” The cobbler is the opposite, a refreshing style that couples a lower proof base with ice—“you’re talking about a mountain of crushed ice”—fruit and/or sugar, all poured into a frosted metal glass and sipped with a wheat straw, for a double whammy of texture and authenticity. “It’s an old fashioned way of drinking,” Bodenheimer explains. Not that the Bellocq menu will drink like a history lesson. “This is not a period piece by any stretch of imagination. This is our modern interpretation.” And his “King’s Cobbler” is a prime example: fresh strawberry, rhubarb amaro, and lemon—quenching, refreshing, and still provocatively complex. “We’re playing with a very classic pairing of strawberry and rhubarb, but the great thing is, you get all that bitter rhubarb root, which is so nice in the cocktail.”

For the drinking customer, the appeal’s about refreshment—a definite selling point in a Bayou climate. But for bartenders like Bodenheimer, a huge part of the appeal is the range of flavor profiles. “It’s going be fun for us because we’re big Madeira and Sherry guys,” says Bodenheimer, who also plans on exploring the cobbler-fication of dessert wine, Port, liqueurs, whisky, and aromatized wines like vermouth. “This is an interesting way for us to pursue our interests. That’s what Cure was when we got into it, and that’s what we’re hoping Bellocq is going to be.”