If you woke up in a costume that you do not remember putting on last night, don’t worry. We’re here to help. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week, we’ve got an updated version of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite American cocktails.
THE SPECIALIST: Dave Kupchinsky, head bartender at the Eveleigh on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles
HIS ELIXIR: Iced Sherry Tea
ITS ORIGINS: Sherry cobblers were the most popular drink in the U.S. for most of the 1800s. The refreshing cocktail contained sherry (Spanish white wine fortified with brandy), sugar, fruit, a lot of ice and most importantly, a straw to drink it through. Ice and straws were both novel inventions in the 19th Century and grew in popularity as the cobbler did. “The straw is a very useful article,” wrote Nebraska’s Grand Island Times in 1873, “when one end is bathed in sherry cobbler.” The cobbler recipe was exported around the world and viewed as a valuable—and addictive—Yankee contribution to society. Charles Dickens, while traveling through America in 1842, said a sherry cobbler was “never to be thought of afterwards, in summer, by those who would preserve contented minds.”
ITS HEALING POWERS: Sherry-lover Dave Kupchinsky, head bartender at L.A.’s Eveleigh, wanted to modernize the cobbler for his brunch menu. “Sherry is perfect in the morning because it’s very low in alcohol and easy to drink,” he says. “It’s relaxing and made for day-drinking. You can smash a lot of sherry and not get too buzzed.”
His cocktail, the iced sherry tea, contains Earl Grey-infused sherry, bourbon, cane syrup and orange bitters. “My drink is essentially an old-fashioned cobbler, and then I fortify it with a little bourbon to give it some backbone,” he says. He also adds a few dashes of locally made Bergamot bitters to heighten the soothing tea flavor. “Earl Grey is essentially black tea that’s flavored with dried Bergamot orange peels,” he says.
He sweetens it with Caribbean cane syrup, a specialty item that even he has a hard time finding. “Most syrups are made from processed, granulated sugar,” he says. “But this syrup is made from pressed cane juice. It’s really thick and rich and tasty.” If you cannot find Caribbean syrup online, Kupchinsky suggests making your own simple syrup using brown sugar.
EDGAR ALLEN POE’S DESCRIPTION OF A SHERRY COBBLER: “Grateful to the delicate esophagus” (in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine) and “a literary treat” (in Southern Literary Messenger)
ICED SHERRY TEA
THE METHOD: Make the Earl Grey-infused sherry: Seep six ounces of loose Earl Grey tea in a bottle of sherry for three hours. Strain. Assemble the drink: Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and swizzle with a bar-spoon. Garnish with expressed lemon and orange peels. Drink through a straw.
Alyson Sheppard is a hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, Jezebel, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep