The term "hat trick" today is most associated with hockey. When someone scores three goals in one game, the fans appreciate the difficult task by showering the ice with hats. This was much fancier back in the day, but it is just as impressive in the modern era. Close followers of hockey also know of the "Gordie Howe hat trick", which is a goal, an assist, and a fighting penalty. The term is not native to the sport; it was actually borrowed from cricket. In 1858, Rock star cricketer H.H. Stephenson earned three wickets (the closest thing would be outs in baseball) on three consecutive deliveries. It was such an impressive display of skill the fans pooled their resources and bought him a hat. After that, any impressive feat in a sport became a "hat trick". It was used for a few decades verbally before it was put in print in 1878. It has migrated to other games as well, including lacrosse, rugby, Scrabble, and marbles. Yep, marbles.
Jeff Grdinich did not name his Hat Trick cocktail after this amazing feat. He named it for the fact that Joe Fee of Fee Brothers had a habit of tipping his cap to people as a traditional greeting (according to Food and Wine). Mr. Fee gave the up and coming bar wizard a bottle of rhubarb bitters, and this is the drink born as the result. Mr. Grdinich is now the beverage manager at Angeline in New Orleans, after winding his way through many fine bars in New England. He settled in NOLA recently, falling in love with the city after many, many years working with Tales of the Cocktail as the Cocktail Apprentice Manager.
The Hat Trick (by Jeff Grdinich of Angeline)
1.5 oz./ 45 mL Amontillado sherry
1 oz./ 30 mL Aperol
2 ds. rhubarb bitters (Fee Brothers is suggested)
1.5 oz./ 45 mL prosecco
Glass: Chilled champagne flute
Garnish: A dash of rhubarb bitters and a lemon twist on a toothpick (optional)
Pour the sherry, Aperol, and bitters into a mixing tin. Add ice, and shake for 20-30 seconds until chilled. Strain into a chilled flute and top off with the prosecco. Add the garnishes and enjoy.
Aperol and sherry should get together more often. It is an amazing pairing, since the fruitness of each enhances them both. While I can appreciate the allure of sparkling wines, they are not something I normally consider in cocktails. The sherry I used was not as dry as the Amontillado called for in the recipe, but not so much sweeter that it would be disruptive. Exploring all of the champagne cocktails I have shows off the versatility of bubbles as a star in a cocktail, like in the Seelbach, and as a medium to enhance other flavors, as in this one. I would not call it a mixer, since it has more active role in the drink. This cocktail should be considered an amazing feat, though there is no need to shower the bartender with fedoras and bowlers while enjoying it.