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.
La Paloma Cocktail
25 Sep 13 8
Occasionally, adding salt to cocktails can help enhance, or even mask, certain flavors. In the case of the La Paloma Cocktail, arguably the most popular cocktail in Mexico, the addition of salt enhances the combined flavors of Tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda. This is a refreshing cocktail any time of the year, especially if you live or are traveling south of the border. Learn more about Tequila Cabeza Grab a Bottle of Tequila Cabeza at DrinkUpNY.com
Weeski Cocktail - Courtesy of David Wondrich
16 Aug 12 8
Necessity can often be a wonderful inspiration. David Wondrich created this drink several years ago when he wanted to bring a bottle of pre-mixed Manhattans to a gathering of friends on Halloween. But his liquor cabinet was missing a few critical ingredients. Using what was at hand, he crafted a drink which focused on Jameson and Lillet, and the "Weeski" was born.
3 May 11 8
A beautifully simple and refreshing drink, the Americano was popularized by American tourists in Italy in the 1960s. Try one with your antipasto!
Fancy Whiskey Cocktail
15 Mar 11 8
The Old Fashioned is an old and distinguished cocktail, as well as one of my personal favorites. Many may point to its origins as being at the Pendennis Club in Louisville Kentucky around 1890, but its true roots go much deeper. Today we call it the Old Fashioned because it is a cocktail that is made in the true "old fashioned" way. You might even say it is the original cocktail, although in those days it would simply have been known as a whiskey cocktail, which with a little fancy embellishments becomes the Fancy Whiskey Cocktail.
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.
19 Jan 11 8
Classic Tequila cocktails can be hard to come by. There is the Margarita, the most famous cocktail on planet Earth, and the Tequila Sunrise, and well, how many more can you name? Thus, Robert was pleasantly surprised when he came upon the Prado Cocktail in Jones Complete Bar Guide. With a hint of maraschino liqueur and the use of egg white, this cocktail is sure to become one of your favorites and hopefully, a classic.
Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail
26 Oct 10 8
Said to have the ability to revive a corpse, hence the name, the Corpse Reviver was first listed in "The Savoy Cocktail Book" by Harry Craddock (1930). If you are feeling six feet under this Halloween, one or two of these cocktails is sure to bring you back to life.
Tom Collins Cocktail
19 Oct 10 8
The recipe for the Tom Collins first appeared in the 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas' "The Bartender's Guide". Apparently named after a little practical joke popular around 1874 in which one person would tell someone on the street that Tom Collins is in a local bar and is talking about them. The now agitated person would hurry off to confront this Tom Collins and soon enough a forward thinking bartender created the drink.
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.
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.
Product Choice is Important - The Sidecar Cocktail
11 Dec 14 7
I recall one of the first times I went to the liquor store to “stock my liquor cabinet”. It was a tad daunting to try to make sense of all of the different bottles of booze and understand what I was needing. And the price range, wow! At the time, I didn’t really have any true knowledge of brands and quality variations, but I knew enough to realize that just because there might be a brand that I had heard of through their marketing efforts, didn’t necessarily mean it was a good product. Since there were several different products I needed to buy, and a budget to deal with, the $20+ products became less and less appealing. Knowing that with wines, price wasn’t really a useful measure of the quality, I assumed the same could be true with spirits, and so I tried to be selective on finding “bargain” priced bottles. At first, I thought it was just the recipes I was using which were making my cocktails lackluster. Thankfully I did the right thing when it came time to replace a depleted bottle, I intentionally bought a different brand, and since I only needed to buy one or two on this visit, I was able to buy something a little more expensive. My cocktails quickly improved. This isn’t to say that all of the good spirit choices have to be expensive ones. There are lower-cost products that you can use which can make cocktails as good, if not better than, their costlier counterparts. And sometimes, even if a more expensive product will make a better cocktail, is the difference noticeable enough to warrant the expense? Courvoisier, is a great cognac. Their VSOP costs, say $45 per bottle, but their VS is more like $25. A sidecar made with the VSOP will be a better drink, but will it be twice as good? If you were to compare them side by side, you’d probably pick the VSOP as the better drink, but you’d still really enjoy the VS as well. So in this case there is nothing wrong with going with the less expensive Courvoisier VS. Cointreau is a triple sec, and most recipes for a Sidecar simply list “Triple Sec” as an ingredient. Cointreau costs, say $34 a bottle, while you can get a bottle of triple sec for around $10. The difference here however can be quite amazing. Not only would you clearly identify a Cointreau Sidecar in a side-by-side comparison, but you might be hard-pressed to finish the one made with triple sec after this discovery. So selecting products you are going to use in your cocktails, realize that your choices will make a difference.
30 Aug 12 7
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.
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.
8 Mar 11 7
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.
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.
27 Feb 09 7
Aperol is a fascinating ingredient which is making it's way back onto the market these days. It is similar to Campari, but not nearly as intense in its flavor. I created the "Petruchio" as a way to highlight Aperol, as well as mess around with using Scotch much the way you might use bitters in a drink. Aperol is produced in Padova (aka: "Padua") which is the setting for Shakespear's "The Taming of the Shrew", and so I named this drink after the main character in that play.
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.
15 Aug 13 6
Bitters are a hot topic here on Small Screen. Many of our viewers have written in with various questions about bitters and their use. In this episode, Robert addresses a question from Ian about the interchangeability of bitters and then makes a forgotten classic that is a variation on the Manhattan Cocktail, the Deshler.
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.
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