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.
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fairly specific recipes, the "Old Fashioned" emerged during the late 1800's as a way to refer to a cocktail as it was originally made in the "old days".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.
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.
French 75 Cocktail
28 Dec 10 5
The French 75 cocktail has been through a few iterations since its humble beginnings during World War I. Currently, the most popular version of this sparkling cocktail is made with gin. Originally, however, it was most likely made with cognac as in this version that Robert mies up.
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.
21st Century Cocktail
22 Jun 09 9
The 20th Century cocktail has been around for… well… about a century. Isn’t it time we had something a little more up-to-date? Jim Meehan, of PDT in New York City, felt the same way, and so he came up with this delightful variation that is well worth trying. I appreciate it because it uses tequila, and I personally think the world needs a few more good tequila cocktail recipes.
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.
Gin Fizz Cocktail
7 Apr 08 11
The Fizz, a once popular style of drink, can be made in myriad ways. The Gin Fizz is light and refreshing and deserves re-discovery.
Clipper Ship Cocktail
10 May 11 5
Created for Robert's friends at Pacific Distillery in Woodinville, WA, the Clipper Ship Cocktail is a classic sour style drink that uses unique, handcrafted spirits to create something simple yet satisfying.
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.
Champs Elysees Cocktail
4 Jan 12 3
Chartreuse is featured in a number of wonderful classic cocktails. Like the Last Word, the Champs Elysees Cocktail seems poised to become a must serve at craft cocktail bars around the country.
Leap Year Cocktail
19 Apr 11 4
The Savoy Cocktail Book touts the Leap Year Cocktail for having "been responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail that has ever been mixed." Invented by the books author, Harry Craddock, for the Leap Year celebrations at the Savoy Hotel, London, on February 29th, 1928, the cocktail is certainly substantial enough for any celebration.
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.
8 Mar 11 3
Ones own cocktail recipes are often derived from classics that have come before. The Negroni, equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, is one such classic that continues to inspire. Thus was the case when Robert created the Trident Cocktail.
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.
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)."
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.
Scorpion Bowl Cocktail
3 Nov 08 10
This classic "Communal" libation is a classic served at many Tiki inspired lounges, but the original comes from Trader Vic himself. While the recipe changed some over the years, this version from the 1960's is often pointed to as the best.
Rob Roy Cocktail
27 Jul 09 16
The Rob Roy gets it's name from an opera by the same name which opened in New York in 1894. In those days it was common to bring about new cocktails and name them after popular shows. For the Rob Roy, they simply took an existing popular cocktail, the Manhattan, and substituted the rye for scotch. Most likely, it would have been made with Dewar's blended scotch, which had just recently begun being imported into the states.
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".
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