The past year has seen a groundswell of interest in aromatized wines, from domestically made vermouths to newly imported quinquinas.
We should've guessed that a bar dedicated to the genre was not far behind. To wit, such a bar is opening next week in New Orleans.
Named Bellocq and located in the Hotel Modern, it's the latest project from the city's top barkeeps, Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal of Cure.
They've put together a program focused exclusively on the oft-overlooked cobbler, the original incarnations of which hinged on aromatized wine as their base.
If the concept sounds limiting, Estopinal would urge you to look closer. "Five years ago, a concept like this would be very, very difficult," he admits. "At that time, there were no Barolo Chinatos on the market--but now there are six."
Expect the menu of 27 cobbler variations to incorporate these, as well as sherries, Madeiras, ice wines, Cognacs and every other wine-based liquid you can imagine.
Consider the recipe below, one of Estopinal's favorites, to be your cobbler gateway. With just Madeira, simple syrup, bitters and citrus zest, it provides a worthy platform for the new darlings of the spirits world.
Recipe adapted from Bellocq, Hotel Modern, New Orleans
Makes one drink
1½ ounces Sercial Madeira (preferably from Rare Wine Co.)
½ ounce simple syrup (1:1)
2 peels orange zest
1 peel lemon zest
Chocolate bitters (preferably Ballast & Keel Cocoa Nib & Chile Arbol)
In a shaker, combine the first four ingredients and shake vigorously with 6 cubes of cracked ice. Roll the contents of the shaker into a rocks glass. Top with a drop of the bitters and serve with a straw.
GET YOUR DAILY SERVING OF FOOD & DRINK CULTURE: MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AT TASTINGTABLE.COM/MANAGE