Ben Alpers

since May 2009


Young Man Cocktail 1 Feb 2012
10:51 am

While we’re on the topic of all the bitters available these days, I wanted to sound you out about the Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. These have suddenly become available here in Oklahoma and I recently picked up a bottle of them.  They’re excellent and interesting.  I’ve fiddled with substituting them for more standard aromatic bitters in various cocktails. They do very well in simpler things like an Old Fashioned. But they’re seem a little more assertive to me than, say, Angostura, which makes me wonder how they’d play in more complicated drinks. Since I really like the flavor of the Jerry Thomas Bitters, I’m actively looking for uses for them.  Have you, Robert (or anyone else reading this), fiddled around with this product? What’s your experience with it?

Bourbon Crusta Cocktail 31 Aug 2009
6:29 am

Thanks for another great episode, Robert!  But this one left me with a definitional question.  A cocktail is (or at least was originally) defined as a drink that contained a mixture of distilled spirits, sugar, and bitters.  What minimally defined a crusta back in Jerry Thomas’s day?

Interview: Sean Harrison and Desmond Payne 21 Jul 2009
5:04 pm

Thanks for another great episode, Robert!  I had a similar question to Blair’s about Plymouth Sloe Gin.  I know that it’s being shipped into the U.S., but it seems to have a much more limited distribution than Plymouth Gin.  For example, I can get Plymouth Gin here in Oklahoma (wonder of wonders!), but Plymouth Sloe Gin is unavailable here. It also seemed to be unavailable in Minnesota where I was earlier this summer (and Minnesota, which has less restrictive liquor laws, seems to get a lot of liquor that we don’t).  Do you know if Plymouth plans to distribute their Sloe Gin more widely in the US at some point?

Vacation Cocktail 6 Jul 2009
5:31 pm


Do you happen to know why cacha

Coffee Cocktail 15 May 2009
2:39 pm

I just made one of these for the first time; it’s terrific!  Thanks, Robert, for the recipe!

I did have one question about it, however.  On your video, you’re using a ruby port and the drink appears, understandably, to come out purple.

I used an Australian tawny called Jonesy that’s my favorite inexpensive “port” and the drink really came out looking exactly like a coffee with milk. 

Do you have any sense of what kind of port American bartenders in Jerry Thomas’s day would have had access to? Comparing the color of your drink and mine to the color of coffee, my guess is a tawny not a ruby.

Aviation Cocktail 22 Jun 2009
6:06 pm

I finally found myself in a state (MN) in which I could pick up a bottle of Creme de Violette.  I just got back home to Oklahoma and tried my first _real_ Aviation (having made a “modern” one a couple times in the past).  The violette really transforms this drink, in my opinion.  I now understand why this is so beloved of cocktail geeks everywhere!

Vieux Carre Cocktail 22 Feb 2011
4:46 pm

I love the Vieux Carre (and first discovered it thanks to this video).  Lately I’ve also been enjoying Brian Miller’s variation on it, the Carre Reprise, which has an ounce each of the cognac, rye, and sweet vermouth, and half an ounce of St. Germain along with both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. This ends up being a slightly lighter tasting drink somehow. (h/t to Jamie Boudreau’s St Germain cocktail website, btw)