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.
5 Apr 11 10
Ian Fleming's protagonist in Casino Royale, better known as James Bond, needed an emblematic tipple. Employing the services of his favorite bartender at Duke's Hotel in London, Ian came up with the Vesper, which eventually took its name from Vesper Lynd, another spy in the books. This now iconic vodka cocktail has become synonymous with 007. Shaken, not stirred? Not when Robert's mixing it up!
29 Sep 10 23
Perfect for National Coffee Day! No surprise, the Irish Coffee was invented in Ireland, but perhaps owes its popularity to the Buena Vista in San Francisco. In fact I was recently in Ireland, and at a cocktail lounge there they listed the "Buena Vista Irish Coffee" on their menu.
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.
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.
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.
Black Feather Cocktail
11 Feb 08 30
This is a unique little cocktail that I created a few years ago. It is an excellent way to illustrate the the valuable role that dry vermouth can play in a properly balanced drink. I've found that it is easily enjoyed by both experienced cocktail drinkers as well as those who haven't quite built up their palate for spirits.
Bobby Burns Cocktail
25 Jan 11 9
Fans of the Manhattan will no doubt enjoy the Bobby Burns Cocktail. Named after the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, it will certainly give you poetic inspiration. Grab your kilt and pipes or at least a pen and paper, mix up a Bobby Burns and get writing!
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.
How to Make Rum Punch
11 Jan 11 9
Punch is great any time of year! With books like David Wondrich's Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl punches are becoming even more popular. Whether at home or behind the bar making a great punch is a wonderful way to bring friends and family together. In this very special episode, Chesterfield Browne, global ambassador for Mount Gay Rum, demonstrates his recipe for Rum Punch.
White Lady Cocktail
29 May 12 10
Without looking too hard, you'll find a few different recipes going by the name "White Lady". Two, three or even four of them are all from the same bartender, Harry MacElhone, who created the drink in 1919. His original recipe called for Creme de Menthe, Cointreau, and Lemon Juice. In "ABC of Mixing Drinks" he lists it as Brandy, Creme de Menthe, and Cointreau, and then in 1923, when he took over the New York Bar in Paris, he updated the recipe again to be gin, Cointreau, and lemon juice, which is far more palatable. Many times these days, you will find this drink made with egg white as well. The recipe used here is as it was served by Harry Craddock at the Savoy cocktail bar in London.
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!
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.
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."
18 May 09 16
The Widow's Kiss dates back to around 1895. This was during a time when a "new" age of cocktails were coming into existence as bartenders were letting it expand beyond it's previously held definition of "spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters". They were experimenting with the use of vermouth (and hence the Martini and Manhattan), as well as various herbal liqueurs which would have previously been simply sipped neat. The Widow's Kiss doubles up on it's elixir content by using both Chartreuse and Benedictine. If you can only find green Chartreuse and not yellow, you can substitute if you cut back by about a third.
11 May 09 4
Calvados is an apple brandy famously made in the Normandy region of France. It's American counterpart is called Applejack, which in a pinch I suppose you could substitute, but only in a pinch. The Calvados Cocktail first appears in "The Savoy Cocktail Book", published in 1930 by Harry Craddock, the bartender at London's famous Savoy hotel. That recipe called for using as much orange bitters as there it was Cointreau. I felt that was just a tad overbearing, so I've pulled it back to the more modest amount you see here, as well as using Angostura Aromatic Bitters instead of orange. But feel free to try it the original way if you want!
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.
15 Feb 11 5
Sour style cocktails are some of the most popular in the world: Margarita, Sidecar, Daiquiri, to name a few. Take a spirit, add juice from any citrus and a sweetening agent like simple syrup or your favorite liqueur and you have a sour style cocktail. This is essentially what Jeff "Beachbum" Berry did when he invented the Outrigger. Based upon the Sidecar, Jeff says this about his creation,"as with cognac in a Sidecar, the older the rum you use in the Outrigger, the better it tastes!" So, grab a great aged rum and get shaking!
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.
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.
22 Feb 11 8
A proper library of cocktail books is essential for exploring and finding inspiration. Many times gems are unearthed that can really get your wheels turning. Or, at the very least help bolster you cocktail menu. While visiting the Zig Zag Café, Robert and owner Ben Dougherty came upon the Cloister Cocktail in an obscure book neither of them had ever seen before.
16 Nov 10 8
Sometimes referred to as the Emerald Martini, the Alaska Cocktail represents Hendrick's Gin and Yellow Chartreuse equally well.
Pimm’s Cup Cocktail
21 Jul 08 16
This easy to make drink, is not only full of great flavors, and a wonderfully refreshing drink during the summer, but it also is slightly lower in overall alcohol content then most drinks and so is a good way to introduce folks to classic drinks. The common garnish is just a slice of cucumber, but it was also once popular to "festoon it with fruits in season".
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.
El Diablo Cocktail
29 Jun 09 4
It is hard to say exactly why this drink is called El Diablo (Devil in Spanish), perhaps it is its red color, or perhaps it's due to the little bit of spice brought in from the ginger ale. Either way, this is a wonderfully refreshing drink, and a good way to introduce somebody to tequila.
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