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.
El Floridita Cocktail
30 Jul 07 16
The "Floridita" Cocktail gets its name from the Floridita bar in Cuba. If you glance through various cocktail books, you will most likely find a variety of different drinks that go by this name, I'm not sure which one should be considered the original version, but this particular one I find to be quite delightful. You'll also learn about how to make homemade Grenadine in the process. (And as to the name of this drink using the masculine "El" instead of the feminine "La"... I've been told that while the establishment takes the feminine name of "Floridita", in Spanish the bar itself is masculine, and thus "El" should be used. At least that's what I've been told.)
Jack Rose Cocktail
26 Jun 12 15
There are various origin stories of the Jack Rose Cocktail. Some attribute it to a colorful and slightly nefarious individual named Jack Rose, others to Joseph Rose a Newark bartender who once held the title of “World Champion Mixologist”. Another story has the cocktail named after the Jacquemot Rose varietal because of its color. Regardless of its origins, it is probably the most popular cocktail which uses Applejack.
Monkey Gland Cocktail
26 Apr 11 15
The present day cannot lay claim to all that is outrageous and downright strange. Back in the day, men used to attempt amazingly misguided, ill informed shenanigans with the goal of increasing their virility and longevity; like taking monkey testicles and implanting or grafting them in to their own bodies. Thus, the Monkey Gland cocktail was created by Frank Meier, of the Ritz Hotel Paris (April, 1923). It is delicious. Promise.
6 Dec 10 15
Some seem to think the Bijou cocktail should be a layered drink, but it isn’t. The Bijou (meaning jewel in French) cocktail was reportedly invented by Harry Johnson in the 1890's. The oldest recipe I have comes from his 1900 "New And Improved Bartenders Manual", where the instructions clearly state "mix well with a spoon and serve." I can understand why somebody might think the layered presentation would be more appropriate, but it was not the way this drink was originally intended to be served. In a previous episode, you saw Dale DeGroff’s take on this the Ritz Bijou.
15 Jun 09 15
Originally, cocktails had such fanciful names as “gin cocktail”, “whiskey cocktail”, and “brandy cocktail”. Now that is some creativity the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. Such names were common in the original bartender’s guide published in 1862 by Jerry Thomas. By the time he published his second book in 1887; cocktail names had taken a decidedly different turn. Besides the Manhattan, Morning Glory, and Martinez cocktail, we also see one of the first appearances of the Saratoga cocktail. This variation on a Manhattan includes brandy along with the whiskey.
Tequila Old Fashioned
4 May 09 15
Think there is only one way to make an Old Fashioned? Think again. Unlike drinks such as the Martini, Margarita, and Daiquiri which have fairly specific recipes, the "Old Fashioned" emerged during the late 1800's as a way to refer to a cocktail as it was originally made in the "old days". The old cocktail books would refer to "Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail" so there was no confusion as to what spirit to use. While today it is simply assumed that Whiskey will be the ingredient in your Old Fashioned (or Brandy if you are from Minnesota), that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this style of cocktail with other spirits. So join me as I make mine with Tequila. And since cocktails should be all about celebrating the spirit, I'll be using a quality tequila, specifically Hornitos 100% blue agave tequila.
East India House Cocktail
20 Apr 09 15
It was in in "The Gentleman's Companion, by Charles H. Baker Jr. that I first encountered the "East India House Cocktail", and immediately fell in love with it. It has a wonderful flavor and is what I refer to as an "approachable" cocktail which would be suitable to both beginners as well as experienced drinkers. Mr. Baker describes the drink as: "Being one for any man's book, & garnered in The Royal Bombay Yacht Club, India (1932)."
18 Jun 07 15
A pre-prohibition cocktail which highlights the value of orange bitters. Few bartenders will know this once popular drink, but is worth rediscovering.
24 Jan 12 14
The Biter Cocktail can be found in Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book. Similar to the Last Word Cocktail, the Biter is a bit more complex because of the addition of Absinthe. Also, Robert reviews yet another juicer he has found with the hopes that this company does not go out of business.
Lucien Gaudin Cocktail
8 Feb 11 14
Lucien Gaudin was a French fencer who won gold medlas at the '24 and '28 Olympic Games. So fond were the French of this master swordsman that they named a cocktail after him after his most recent victories. His namesake is a very European flare with its use of gin, vermouth, Cointreau and Campari. Delicious!
Brandy Alexander Cocktail
1 Feb 11 14
Few bartenders dread the chocolate martini more than any other drink request. First, it is not a martini. Second, you might as well have a scoop of chocolate ice cream instead! To the rescue comes a classic that is sure to please, simple to make and much more interesting: the Brandy Alexander.
8 Sep 09 14
I am always on the lookout for cocktails which use slightly offbeat, if not downright obscure ingredients. Ramazzotti as an Italian Amaro Bitters, which has a fairly robust and complex flavor. It can present a delightful play of flavors when balanced against the right ingredients. I ran across this drink at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle, where it is regularly one of their go-to drinks when a customer wants something just a bit different.
9 Feb 09 14
The Bijou is a classic, but not terribly common cocktail. Dale DeGroff recently released a new book "The Essential Cocktail", in which he presents classic cocktails along with several variations which illustrate how one recipe can be used as a springboard to other creations. He presents the "Ritz Bijou" as one such variation, and it is an excellent drink to become familiar with.
30 Nov 09 13
The word "Scofflaw" has come to mean "A person who flouts the law, especially an unsustainable one." But such was not always the case. It was in 1923, when Delcevare King, a member of the Anti-Saloon League, posed a contest to create a new word in order to combat the continued drinking which was going on during American Prohibition. The new word was to be one "which best expresses the idea of a lawless drinker, menace, scoffer, bad citizen, or whatnot, with the biting power of 'scab' or 'slacker.'" The $200 prize elicited a huge response. On January 16th, 1924, the Boston Herald announced the winning word as "scofflaw", with the winnings shared by the two Boston area residents, Henry Irving Dale and Kate L. Butler, who both submitted it. This was not the end of the story however, in just a little over a week, a salvo was launched from Harry's New York Bar in Paris, where they created a new drink and christened it the "Scofflaw".
30 Mar 09 13
First encountered in Jerry Thomas' 1887 Bartender's Guide, he specifically notes that "The name of this cocktail is a misnomer, as coffee and bitters are not to be found among its ingredients, but it looks like coffee when it has been properly concocted, and hence probably its name."
27 Oct 08 13
When preparing to add some Tiki... er... Exotic Cocktails to my site, I asked Jeff "Beachbum" Berry what drink he recommended besides the Mai Tai. This classic "Trader Vic" creation was first on his list. As Trader Vic himself said: "Fog Cutter, hell. After two of these, you won't even see the stuff."
Beach Bum’s Own Cocktail
20 Oct 08 13
Bosko Hrnjak is a noted sculptor and is famous for his "Tiki" creations (http://www.tikibosko.com). He once created a Tiki Mug in the likeness of Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, but alas, it had no signature drink to be filled with. The Beachbum himself soon rectified this problem by coming up with this delightful creation.
How to Garnish a Cocktail
9 Jun 08 13
Most cocktails are not complete without the garnish. Not only does a garnish add eye appeal but it can be, and most often is, a major flavor component. So, don't discount the garnish when creating cocktails at home or at your bar. They are quintessential in crafting the drinking experience.
2 Jul 07 13
It's hard to understand how the Japanese Cocktail has slid into obscurity. While you might find it listed in some of the modern cocktail books, you'll be hard pressed to find one that uses the original recipe from Jerry Thomas' "Bar Tenders Guide" published in 1887. Properly made the sweet almond flavor of the orgeat balances the brandy and the bitters to present a very enticing drink.
Bainbridge Island Iced Tea
27 Oct 12 12
Ever wonder what we do with the leftovers from all the cocktails we make during a Cocktail Spirit shoot? Bainbridge Island Iced Tea of course!
Flame of Love Cocktail
17 Jul 12 12
This drink was created by Pepe Ruiz, bartender at Chasen’s in Beverly Hills. Dean Martin had apparently grown tired of the same Martini over and over again, and asked Pepe for something different. This is the drink Pepe came up with.
8 Nov 11 12
Found in the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, this drink is quite similar to that of the Martinez, although many Martinez recipes will specifically call for Old Tom gin, and/or the use of Maraschino liqueur. It's hard to say where this drink originates, or exactly what is intended by its name, but "Hakam" means "A Wise Man" in Hebrew.
20 Sep 11 12
Robert Hess discovered the Bridal Cocktail in the pages of the Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. If you are familiar with the original Martini, made with sweet rather than dry vermouth, this cocktail is quite similar. The addition of Maraschino liqueur adds a hint of cherry that rounds out a delicious cocktail.
Fourth Regiment Cocktail
30 Aug 11 12
Recipes for cocktails can be found in the strangest places. The recipe for the Fourth Regiment Cocktail was found in a small book titled "282 Mixed Drinks from the Private Records of a Bartender of the Olden Days" Robert Hess purchased on Ebay. Written around 1889, the seller found this little treasure in a home they had recently purchased.
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