The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess
The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess is dedicated to the creation of quality classic cocktails. Watch as he mixes up cocktail recipes from the past using the best ingredients.
Interview: Sean Harrison and Desmond Payne
20 Jul 09 8
As if our coverage of Tales of the Cocktail 2009 could get any better! In this very special episode of The Cocktail SPirit with Robert Hess, Robert sits down for an exclusive interview with Sean Harrison, master distiller of Plymouth Gin and Desmond Payne, master distiller of Beefeater and now Beefeater 24. Together they have decades of experience crafting some of the world's finest gins. And, Robert has about the same amount of experience drinking them!
6 Jul 09 8
This drink was created by Zane Harris. I asked him for some ideas on a "summertime" cocktail, and he said this is one that he had recently worked up. He said it was a good summertime drink not only because it uses cachaça, but also because of the use of egg whites. Zane had noticed that during the summer, people tend to gravitate towards his egg white drinks more than they do the rest of the year. Check out our video on adding eggs to cocktails on Raising the Bar with Jamie Boudreau.
Monte Carlo Cocktail
1 Jun 09 8
It seems like these days everybody is trying to come up with “variations” on some particular cocktail, Pomegranate Martinis, Raspberri Manhattans, Strawberry Mojitos… you get the point. If a drink is a Manhattan, call it a Manhattan, if it isn’t don’t. Case in point, the “Monte Carlo”. This drink is essentially a Manhattan in which you have simply switched out the sweet vermouth, for something a little sweeter, and a little more complex, Benedictine. If you like Manhattans, you’ll probably like this drink as well.
Strait’s Sling Cocktail
26 May 09 8
Of course almost everybody has heard of the famous Singapore Sling, invented at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. What they might not know, is that sometime during the 1930s they stopped serving the drink, and when they decided to start making it again, they discovered they no longer had the original recipe. As the rumor goes, an old customer had a recipe written on the back of an old napkin, and they used that to bring back the drink. There are some who say that this isn't the same recipe. Instead, they feel that the "original" Singapore Sling recipe is found here, in the recipe for the Straits Sling. We may never know.
17 Nov 08 8
This represents my entry into the classic Tiki cocktail arena. Since those Polynesian inspired restaurants were intended as a mini-vacation, I felt the name "Voyager" worked really well... or perhaps it's because I'm a big Star Trek fan... either way, it's a great drink.
14 May 12 7
The original recipe for this called for equal parts of all four ingredients. Such a drink would be far too unbalanced, but feel free to give it a try if you want. The recipe shown here is more of a modified dry Martini, with the absinthe and violette being supporting actors instead of co-stars.
Poet’s Dream Cocktail
1 Nov 11 7
Found in the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar book, the Poet's Dream cocktail is a beautiful representation of how Benedictine can be represented in a cocktail.
3 May 11 7
A beautifully simple and refreshing drink, the Americano was popularized by American tourists in Italy in the 1960s. Try one with your antipasto!
Holiday Stinger Cocktail
21 Dec 10 7
Typically made with white creme de menthe, the Stinger cocktail is a wonderful dessert drink that pairs very well with rich chocolate. In this version, Robert substitutes green creme de menthe for the white for a more festive look.
10 Sep 07 7
Vodka is the most popular of spirits, it's lack of discernable flavor however, when mixed in a cocktail, makes it necessary to approach it's use slightly differently than other spirits. In this episode we use the "Harrington" to illustrate how vodka can play an important role in various drinks.
30 Aug 12 6
This drink was named for a member of the family which founded the Guion Line, a steamship company which operated from 1866 to 1892 and was one of the primary steamship lines providing transportation from London to New York. This drink was probably created at the Waldorf Astoria bar.
Red Snapper Cocktail
21 May 12 6
If you dig into the often confusing history of the Bloody Mary, you will encounter references to it first being served in 1934 at the St. Regis hotel in New York by Fernand Petiot who brought the recipe with him from Paris (where some accounts claim he invented it). Since the name “Bloody Mary” was deemed to be a little to vulgar for the establishment, it was re-christened the “Red Snapper”, it is also said that since vodka wasn’t yet easily available here in the US, gin was used instead. Eventually the original name was returned to the drink, but the Red Snapper continued to be made with gin instead of vodka.
15 Nov 11 6
Robert found the Sherman Cocktail in the book, the "Old Waldorf Bar Days" by Albert Stevens Crockett. It is essentially a twist on the classic Manhattan with the addition of absinthe and double the types of bitters.
18 Oct 11 6
The Delmonico Cocktail is named after what is considered to be the first restaurant opened in the United States. First opened in 1827, Delmonico's has suffered through fire, prohibition and a series of proprietors and still serves its famous steaks today. The eponymous cocktail is just as strong and long lived as the restaurant.
27 Sep 11 6
Essentially a Martini with the addition of Benedictine, the Caprice Cocktail is a simple and delicious drink.
9 Aug 11 6
Many times in making cocktails, just as in life, the simpler the better. Such is the case with the delightful Apricot Cocktail. Originally found in the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury,this cocktails three ingredients stirred with ice offer up beautiful aroma and nuanced flavor. Floral, fruity and even herbaceous, the Apricot Cocktail is a classic to be savored.
Lemon Drop Cocktail
12 Apr 11 6
The latter part of the 20th century did not produce the most creative cocktails. With few exceptions, the Cosmopolitan being a notable one, the 70's, 80's and 90's are considered a dark time in the history of mixed libations. But, there are some often overlooked gems that continue to refresh and tantalize. Unfortunately, with the Lemon Drop, the recipe has devolved into a syrupy, cloying, artificial flavor laden mess. As with all great cocktails gone awry, a return to fresh and simple ingredients revives it and brings it back to its former glory. The Lemon Drop also demonstrates how vodka can spread out and maximize the complimentary flavors in a cocktail.
13 Jul 09 6
From what I can figure out, a Diabolo is an odd-looking juggling device that almost looks like a yo-yo. Not quite sure what that has to do with this cocktail, but who am I to argue. This recipe appears in a few different locations starting around 1930, sometimes it also includes a dash or two of orange bitters, so feel free to add some if you wish.
9 Mar 09 6
Benedictine is one of those products which often just seems to gather dust on most bars shelves. When asked, most bartenders only know that it is used in a "B&B" which is why you'll normally see "B&B" on the back shelf instead of "Benedictine". The Cabaret is an excellent way to use Benedictine and grow accustomed to its unique flavor.
10 Nov 08 6
Exotic cocktails often need an exotic display, and few get more exotic than the Volcano. Served in it's namesake vessel, replete with mini volcano burning brightly in the center, this is sure to catch your attention. Fire extinguishers on the ready!
La Louisiane Cocktail
14 Jul 08 6
This wonderful drink is one I first encountered in Stanley Clisby Arthur's book "Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em". There, he recounts how this was the house cocktail at the "Restaurant de la Louisiane" a once famous New Orleans restaurant. While it is too late to bring back its namesake restaurant, I think this drink deserves to once more see the light of day.
13 Sep 12 5
The December 1934 edition of Esquire Magazine includes a list of the “Top 10” most popular cocktails. The list starts with an Old Fashioned, and ends with a Daiquiri. The rest of the drinks on the list are reasonably well known. One of them, The Harvest Moon, appears to be MIA for most bartenders. It is described as being a “applejack sour with orgeat”.
5 Jun 12 5
The Caesar Cocktail was apparently invented in 1969 by Walter Chell, the restaurant manager of the Calgary Inn in Alberta, Canada and is essentially a Bloody Mary using Clamato juice instead of tomato juice. Chell supposedly spent three months perfecting the drink, ending up with the simple 1-2-3-4 recipe. This drink is very popular in Canada; at one point there was a movement to make it the national drink there!
Lion’s Tail Cocktail
12 Jul 11 5
The cocktail resurgence has brought with a it a resurgence in previously hard-to-find products. One of these once forgotten concoctions is Pimento (Allspice) Dram. "In larger doses, pimento dram contributes a richness to a drink evocative of autumn fruits and baking spices. In the drips and dashes with which it is typically deployed, however, the liqueur plays a much more subtle role," writes Paul Clarke of CocktailChronicles.com. That is definitely the case in the Lion's Tail Cocktail; a little goes a long way in transforming a cocktail and adding nuanced flavor.
Liqeuer, Aperitif & Digestif
- Almond Liqueur
- Apricot Liqueur
- Blackcurrant Liqueur
- Chocolate Liqueur
- Cherry Liqueur
- Ginger Liqueur
- Herbal Liqueur
- Mint Liqueur
- Pomegranate Liqueur
- Orange Liqueur
- Violet Liqueur