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.
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.
4 Jan 11 12
The Martinez cocktail is a precursor to the Martini and also directly related to the Manhattan. Its abundant use of sweet vermouth decreases the amount of alcohol in the cocktail overall but maximizes flavor. With the addition of Maraschino liqueur, even in a small measure, makes for a delightfully complex cocktail worthy of investigation. For a side by side comparison, mix up a Martinez a Martini and a Manhattan and sip them with your friends.
Añejo Highball Cocktail
16 Jun 08 24
The Anejo Highball was created by famed mixologist Dale DeGroff to pay homage to the celebrated bartenders of Cuba from back in the twenties and thirties. Dale says that this drink illustrates how necessary it is for the bartender to understand the role that each and every ingredient plays in the cocktails that they make.
16 Feb 09 26
An old and unfortunately forgotten cocktail, and one of the first which I learned which required the mysterious ingredient "orange bitters". It is a great drink to use to introduce people to "gin" cocktails. If you use "orange curacao" instead of Grand Marnier turns this into a "curled" version.
Income Tax Cocktail
15 Apr 10 10
It can often be said that paying your income tax is a bittered experience. As cocktails go, the Income Tax cocktail can be described as a "Bronx" cocktail with bitters, but it might be difficult to know if that is how it originally received its name.
4 Oct 11 16
The Casino Cocktail is a very gin forward cocktail. It can be made with Old Tom gin and showcases that spirit well.
La Louisiane Cocktail
14 Jul 08 6
This wonderful drink is one I first encountered in Stanley Clisby Arthur's book "Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em". There, he recounts how this was the house cocktail at the "Restaurant de la Louisiane" a once famous New Orleans restaurant. While it is too late to bring back its namesake restaurant, I think this drink deserves to once more see the light of day.
Black Hawk Cocktail
23 Aug 11 21
Robert discovered the Black Hawk cocktail in Jones Complete Bar Guide as well as Cocktail DB. The bourbon adds a great backbone for the acid of the lemon and the sweet and complex notes of the sloe gin to mingle. This is surely a classic.
5 Feb 08 18
One of the standards down in New Orleans, the Hurricane was one of the first entries into the rum cocktail boom which heralded the Tiki craze of the 40's and 50's.
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.
Old Pal Cocktail
2 Aug 11 16
The Old Pal Cocktail first appears in "ABC of Mixing Cocktails" by Harry MacElhone of the famed Harry's New York Bar in Paris. Originally calling for Canadian whisky, an American rye provides a robust flavor profile that adds a great foundation for the dry vermouth and Campari. Next time you are at your favorite bar, cozy up to the Old Pal Cocktail.
10 Dec 07 18
For whatever reason, there doesn't seem to be a lot of cocktails made with tequila. Sure, there's the Margarita, which is still the best selling cocktail around, but aside from "Tequila Poppers" the landscape is relatively slim. The Frostbite might be one cocktail you've never heard of before, but frankly I feel it is worth checking out.
Between the Sheets Cocktail
16 Aug 11 9
Not many cocktails contain more than one base spirit, let alone three (unless they are created by Jamie Boudreau). The Between the Sheets cocktail is one exception.
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.
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.
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".
Lemon Drop Cocktail
12 Apr 11 6
The latter part of the 20th century did not produce the most creative cocktails. With few exceptions, the Cosmopolitan being a notable one, the 70's, 80's and 90's are considered a dark time in the history of mixed libations. But, there are some often overlooked gems that continue to refresh and tantalize. Unfortunately, with the Lemon Drop, the recipe has devolved into a syrupy, cloying, artificial flavor laden mess. As with all great cocktails gone awry, a return to fresh and simple ingredients revives it and brings it back to its former glory. The Lemon Drop also demonstrates how vodka can spread out and maximize the complimentary flavors in a cocktail.
Blood and Sand Cocktail
8 May 12 9
In 1922 Rudolph Valentino starred in the movie “Blood and Sand”, a movie that shortly before his death in 1926 he declared as the part he liked the best. He had just undergone a touchy surgery for appendicitis and gastric ulcers and told the gathering press “The part I like best was my role in ‘Blood and Sand’. If I had died, I would have liked to be remembered as an actor by that role – I think it my greatest.” He died a few days later from peritonitis. It is unknown who actually created the recipe for Blood and Sand, but its first appearance seems to be in “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Cradock in 1930. There it lists the recipe as equal parts of all three ingredients, but I feel that the recipe works better by boosting the scotch.
5 Apr 11 16
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 10
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.
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