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.
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.
Don’t Use Old Vermouth
12 Nov 14 12
There used to be a time when the amount of dry vermouth that would make it into your Martini would have been better measured by an eye dropper instead of a jigger. To this day, you can still find little spray bottles being sold as “vermouth misters” to allow only the slightest amount of vermouth to be added to your Martini. When you are using that little vermouth in your Martini, that means that you are going through your vermouth very slowly, making it very, very old before you make even the slightest dent in it. Vermouth is a wine. And like any wine, it will oxidize over time, which will impact its flavor. Vermouth is what is known as a fortified/aromatized wine (Port and Sherry are simply fortified wines). Fortification simply means adding an alcohol to the wine, usually brandy. This originally was done to help preserve it, the higher alcohol content would make it last longer. Aromatization means that herbs, spices, and botanicals have been added to it. The original intent of this was to produce a supposedly medicinal beverage, with wormwood being the key ingredient of vermouth, which is where it gets its name. These botanicals also had a side-effect of giving the wine a longer shelf-life, not because it reduced oxidation, but because it would sort of mask the effects of oxidation. Even with fortification and aromatization vermouth is still a wine, and so its shelf life, once opened, is limited. Those dusty bottles of vermouth you might have on your shelf are not going to do anything good for any drink you use them in. This could be part of what leads to the fear that some people have of vermouth, and hence the gymnastics they may go through to use as little of it as possible in their cocktails (the Martini specifically). You owe it to yourself, and the guests you are serving, to use as fresh of a bottle of vermouth as you can. This will mean buying as small a bottle as possible and keeping it refrigerated when not in use. If you have any doubts about the age of that bottle, then relegate it for use in cooking, where it works quite well.
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!
23 Aug 12 12
This cocktail was believed to have been named after Douglas Fairbanks Sr. If that was the case, then why is it “Fairbank” and not “Fairbanks”? An alternate story says it was named after Charles Warren Fairbank, who was Theodore Roosevelt’s vice president.
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. Watch Jamie Boudreau make the Fourth Regiment Cocktail
Bourbon Milk Punch
26 Jul 11 12
It's time for breakfast in New Orleans. What to serve? Along side your grits and andouille there is nothing better than a smooth and creamy bourbon milk punch. After days of Mardi Gras revelry there could be nothing better to sooth your aching belly.
E**X**R and Ginger
28 Jun 11 12
What do you do when a new product arrives that you have never mixed with before? Start by tasting it and comparing it to what you know. Then, mix up a simple cocktail that will express the nuances and characteristics of the spirit or liqueur. The Bitter Truth E*X*R is wonderfully sweet with characteristics of an Italian amaro. It pairs perfectly with a spicy ginger beer!
Singapore Sling Cocktail
12 Oct 10 12
The Singapore Sling was originally created by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in the early 20th century. It is a wonderful drink that we probably have all heard of, but perhaps have never had. And because this recipe is often incorrectly recorded in most recipe books, even if you think you've had it, you probably haven't.
28 Apr 10 12
Benedictine is one of those products which often is gathering dust at most bars across the country. Typically they will even have just a bottle of "B&B" instead of Benedictine, which only shows that they don't really know how to use this product. So I am always on the lookout for great cocktails which can illustrate the value that Benedictine can bring to a drink. There are a few different cocktails going by the name of "Derby", but the version I show here is one which I think is an excellent drink to introduce people to the potential that Benedictine provides.
14 Sep 09 12
The Seelbach Hotel has been a grand fixture in Louisville Kentucky since it was built in 1905. The Seelbach cocktail was specifically created as a house specialty around 1917, but sometime during prohibition it was forgotten, and all but lost. It wouldn't be until 1995, when the recipe was uncovered by their hotel manager, that this wonderful drink would once again see the light of day. Gary Regan convinced the manager to "publish" the recipe so it wouldn't risk being forgotten again, and included it in his book "New Classic Cocktails".
Cucumber Lavender Sour
4 Mar 09 12
In this very special episode, Charlotte Voisey of Hendrick's Gin and William Grant & Sons mixes her original Cucumber Lavender Sour. This is soon to become a classic summer refresher.
Jolly Roger Cocktail
23 Feb 09 12
The flavor of molasses balances well with the ginger notes from the falernum. Falernum is an ingredient sometimes found in the tiki era drinks of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, and it works specifically well in rum based drinks. It however had been unavailable for a while in the US. Recently it came back, and so I was playing around one day to try to come up with a drink that would make use of it, as well as pay a little homage to rum and it's roots upon the often treacherous seas.
Suffering Bastard Cocktail
8 Sep 08 12
The original name for this drink was apparently the Suffering Bar Steward, but as one might expect in a noisy bar after a few drinks, the name gets a little mangled. There are several recipes for this floating about. For mine I turned to one of my favorite sources, Beachbum Berrry's Grog Log, by Jeff Berry.
Sour Mix: Just Say No - Daiquiri Cocktail
22 Oct 14 11
As the saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For bartenders, that “hammer” can come in the form of “sour mix”. For sour style cocktails (such as Daiquiri, Margarita, Sidecar, Cosmopolitan, etc.), the proper balance between sweet and sour is important to achieve. You can add just a quarter ounce too much tart citrus juice to a cocktail and send it over the cliff. So imagine the value of getting that “just right” balance ahead of time, in bulk, and then being able to turn out well-balanced drinks that much quicker, without having to be as concerned about getting the recipe right. One of the problems of course is that not all sour style cocktails are created equal. Even a great sour mix, made from scratch, won’t work well in multiple recipes. Probably the only time that a sour mix “batch” is appropriate, is for a catering type of operation or event. This would be where you either know you are going to be slammed all night with people ordering a specific cocktail, or you have to use untrained staff. In such a situation you can have the “right” sour mix for the couple of drinks you’ll be offering, make it easier for untrained staff to get the recipe right, and take a little less time doing it. Sour mix was not created as a cocktail ingredient, but as a cocktail shortcut. The next time you see a recipe that calls for “sour mix”, realize that you will be far better off looking for another recipe.
26 Oct 11 11
Named after the Suburban Handicap horse race held in the Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay during the 1800s, the Suburban Cocktail comes to us via the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. It was meant to celebrate men such as James R Keene who made their riches in stocks and owned a number of horses.
6 Sep 11 11
Invented by W.J. Tarling, author of The Café Royal Cocktail Book (1937), the Royalist Cocktail is similar to a Manhattan. The use of Peach bitters in lieu of Angostura as well as the use of dry instead of sweet vermouth are the obvious differences. Benedictine offers a touch of sweetness and spice to what is a delightful cocktail.
Ocean Shore Cocktail
5 Jul 11 11
Having no relation to the beachside Washington state town of (almost) the same name, the Ocean Shore Cocktail is nonetheless reminiscent of the sea. Its lavender blue hue topped with froth created by the addition of egg white and a good hard shake, is reminiscent of the sea. In this episode, Robert demonstrates how to make the Ocean Shore Cocktail and discusses how sloe gin is made.
2 Nov 10 11
Sometime during the year 1919, or perhaps early 1920, the "Negroni" cocktail was invented when Cammillo Luigi Manfredo Maria Negroni (reportedly a Count) asked Fosco Scarselli, barman at the Cafe Casoni to "fortify" his regular Americano with some gin. There is a letter from October 13, 1920 written to Count Camillo (at some point he dropped the second "m" in his name) from Frances Harper of Chelsea, London: "You say you can drink, smoke, & I am sure laugh, just as much as ever. I feel you are not much to be pitied! You must not take more than 20 Negronis in one day!"
Pink Gin Cocktail
16 Mar 09 11
Nothing could be simpler, gin and bitters. It may not be a drink I'd recommend to somebody just getting interested in cocktails, but once you've grown accustomed to the normal lineup, it's a great drink to try. The amount of bitters can easily be adjusted either up or down depending on your tastes.
Hula Hula Cocktail
13 Oct 08 11
Ray Buhen was one of the original bartenders for Don The Beachcomber. The Hula Hula was one of Ray's early creations and still proves to be a great drink. I might recommend one for brunch perhaps?
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