Mobile’s The Haberdasher Is Making Craft Cocktail History

By Clair McLafferty | November 17, 2017
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Haberdasher Mobile Bar
The Haberdasher sells 12,000 old fashioneds per year. Photo by Elise Poché.

Home to the oldest Carnival celebration in the U.S. and the New Year’s Eve MoonPie drop, Mobile’s traditions and history are as unique as they are iconic. At The Haberdasher craft cocktail bar, they’re creating new traditions by making old fashioneds.

“We’re an old fashioned factory,” beverage director Roy Clark says. In fact, in a single year they sell 12,000.

Old fashioned guzzlers are attracted to The Haberdasher because it was the first bar built downtown that focuses primarily on craft cocktails. Nods to local and nearby history run throughout the fabric of the entire concept, including the name.

Haberdasher Mobile Interior
The Haberdasher is the first, modern cocktail bar in Mobile. Photo by Elise Poché.

The bar’s original location was rumored to have once housed a haberdashery, or hat-making shop. Though these historical rumors were never confirmed, the name was a natural fit, and they kept it.

But as with many other traditions in the making, The Haberdasher has encountered fits and stops in its development. It was forced to close and change locations in 2015, opening with a more spacious kitchen on Dauphin Street in mid-2016.

In the five years since the original grand opening, Mobile has become much more cocktail savvy.

“It took a minute for it to catch on, but it’s caught its stride,” Clark says. “Our regulars are getting more intrepid and becoming more willing to try more esoteric cocktails or ingredients.”

Take their popular old fashioned. The bar makes a traditional version (bourbon, raw sugar, bitters and a twist of orange peel), plus variations such as the Mississippi old fashioned, which is sweetened with a Barq’s root beer reduction and garnished with star anise. Since Barq’s is made in nearby Biloxi, this cocktail is named for the soda’s home state. It’s still a favorite for many Alabama residents, though.

Drinks other than the old fashioned also have local ties. Fear is the Mind Killer includes Redmont Alabama Cotton gin, which is made in Birmingham, and peppery bitters. Fourteen of their 18 beer taps rotate frequently, while two Alabama beers, one Mississippi beer and Guinness round out the count.

And since Mobile is a port city and at the intersection of many cultures, The Haberdasher draws culinary influences from all over the world: homemade naan, diner-style burgers, flatbreads and Mobile’s only arepas.

The food and drink menus rotate seasonally, but that has its drawbacks. “It’s South Alabama, so seasons are almost just concepts around here,” Clark says.

The Haberdasher will go down in history as the first, modern cocktail bar in the city. And with the temperature finally starting to inch downward, its unpretentious patio will be a perfect place to kick back, old fashioned in hand, and watch time go by.

The Haberdasher, 113 Dauphin Street, Mobile.

Article from Edible Lower Alabama at
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