since January 2012


Jack Rose Cocktail 26 Jun 2012
12:13 pm

Hi Mr. Hess,

Is the applejack bottled in bond?

Attention Cocktail 15 May 2012
6:10 pm

Great to see another recipe using crème de violette, Mr. Hess! I was just given a bottle as a gift, but it’s the Rothman & Winter brand rather than the Bitter Truth product. Do you have any experience with the R&W crème de violette? I’m curious to know how they compare, but the Bitter Truth folks don’t seem to have much a foothold in my area.

Attention Cocktail 16 May 2012
11:54 am

Thanks Rhett! I’ll keep that in mind. I remember trying to make an Aviation with it using Mr. Hess’ recipe, and feeling that the Rothman & Winter sort of took over; since Mr. Hess is so careful to balance each recipe, I figured that it must have something to do with the liqueur itself. It sounds like I was right! I’m looking forward to trying other kinds.

Young Man Cocktail 21 Apr 2012
2:43 pm

Hey Mr. Hess, are you alright? Haven’t seen an update on here or on Drinkboy for some time. I hope everything’s okay. I’ll hope for the best.

I would love to see some recipes that use a wider variety of liqueurs. I have an overwhelming number of such things—Frangelico, Chambord, Tuaca, etc.. and I’d like to be able to make something other than shooters with them. Is there any hope, or am I just stuck with bottles full of candy passing for spirits?

Washington Cocktail 23 Jan 2012
3:07 am

This drink looks lovely, but I have sort of an odd question. When you cut a twist off of a lemon, orange, etc., or you only need one or two wedges of a fruit for garnishing—what do you do with the rest of the fruit? Sometimes if I’m making a drink for myself and, say, one friend, I find that I have sizable chunks of unused citrus lying about. I don’t want to just toss all that fruit, but I certainly don’t want to have to make 3 or more drinks just to avoid wasting a lemon or lime. Mr. Hess, would you recommend juicing the remaining fruit and storing it for later use? If I use the leftovers to prepare more garnishes for another occasion, how long should I wait to use them? I know this seems a little trivial, but it’s hard to balance my desire to use the freshest ingredients possible with a certain practicality.

Washington Cocktail 23 Jan 2012
3:22 am

I’m not an expert, but if I understand Jeffero’s question, I think I might be able to help.

I know that in Italy, the distinction between an apertif (or aperitivo) and a digestif (digestivo) is a matter of tradition. Both kinds of drinks are alcoholic. An apertif is an alcoholic beverage customarily taken before a meal to whet the appetite, while a digestif is an alcoholic beverage taken afterwards to aid digestion. Campari is a popular apertif in Italy. The classification can be confusing, because it’s basically arbitrary: Campari is traditionally served before eating, and therefore it is an apertif. If it were traditionally served after eating, it would be a digestif. I think it has more to do with cultural practices and association than with any actual effects on the digestive system.

That probably wasn’t very clear, but I hope it’s of some use.

Ford Cocktail 14 Jan 2012
8:28 pm

Hi Mr. Hess!

I’m a big fan of the show. I just started mixing drinks at home a month ago, and your precise recipes have been a huge help. I don’t want to bombard you with questions, but I’m curious about a couple of things that I hoped you could weigh in on:

I certainly enjoy contemporary drinks, and I really love some of the early 20th century recipes you’ve shared, but I have an almost overwhelming desire to go right back to Thomas’ How To Mix Drinks. The problem is that I don’t know what to make of some of the terminology he uses, which I guess is to be expected given the work’s age. I’ll just cut to the chase and get the most confusing bits out of the way.

First of all, he uses measurements that I don’t really understand. For instance, he often measures out “gum syrup” (simple syrup?) in dashes. His Gin Cocktail calls for

3 or 4 dashes of gum syrup
2 dashes of Boker’s bitters
1 wine-glass of Holland gin
1 or 2 dashes Curacoa

Does he actually mean three or four dashes, like the kind we would get out of a bottle with a dasher top on it?

What are Boker’s bitters? Is it a variety of aromatic bitters that’s out of production?

What exactly is a “wine-glass,” in terms of ounces? What kind of wine glass was he using?

By “Curacoa,” does he mean curaçao? If so, would he be using orange or blue?

Also, when he calls for “lumps” of ice, what is he talking about?

I know this is a lot to ask. I don’t mean to spam you with silly queries.

Ford Cocktail 15 Jan 2012
8:35 pm

Thanks so much! I downloaded an ebook version of Wondrich’s book, and so far it’s wonderful. His interpretations of antiquated measures and approximations. The one thing that he doesn’t do is provide more precise measurements for the citrus juices; 1/2 a lemon remains 1/2 a lemon, with no guidance or qualifications. Mr. Hess, is there a rule of thumb you use when recreating recipes like this? Your juice measurements are very consistent and clear-cut. Also, I use simple syrup rather than granulated or powdered sugar, per your instructions, but there’s one thing I’m still not clear on: when a Thomas recipe calls for, say, a tablespoon of water, would you recommend actually adding water? Or does the syrup’s 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of sugar to water account for that as well?

Thanks a ton for getting back to me so soon. I live in the Cincinnati area, and I don’t know if there are any lounges or bars that are committed to mixing with precision and an eye for quality.

Delmonico Cocktail 28 Jan 2012
12:38 am

Hi Mr. Hess,

I’ve noticed that you sometimes fill the mixing glass to the top with ice, while other times you don’t. Is that deliberate? I assumed that more ice means less melting, which would affect the dilution of the alcoholic ingredients.

Apricot Cocktail 28 Jan 2012
6:49 am

Hi Mr. Hess!

Sorry for jumping back and forth from old to new videos like this, but I try to post questions on the most appropriate episodes.

I recently received an edition of Embury’s book (with an introduction that you penned, incidentally,) and I had a question about some of his preferred ratios. His recommended Martini recipe is a good example: he calls for 7 parts gin to 1 part dry vermouth. I figured I could do 1 & 3/4 oz. of gin and 1/4 oz. of vermouth, but that’s still a lot of booze. I’d like to be able to explore his recipes without getting totally obliterated on a daily basis. Do you have a rule of thumb when you’re utilizing recipes like this? Sometimes it seems like he’s setting you up to make a pitcher of one cocktail for four people!

Caipirinha Cocktail 7 Oct 2012
12:58 am

Hey Mr. Hess, geeky question:

I see that Lawrence already mentioned that caipirinhas are sometimes shaken - this is what a friend of mine from Pernambuco does - although I’m sure that this is a modern development. Anyway, when he shakes it up, everything is together, including the fruit. In this case, could the caipirinha be considered a kind of “cachaça cobbler”? I’m just curious.

BTW, in case you’re interested, “caipirinha” means “little caipira;” a “caipira” is someone from the rural interior of Brazil. It’s kind of like saying “little hick,” actually.



Caipirinha Cocktail 7 Oct 2012
1:02 am

Oh, and if it’s any help, I’m told that a lot of Brazilians drink Pitú. It’s got what looks like a shrimp or crawdaddy on the label. Also, Brazilians don’t always make a caipirinha with cachaça, interestingly enough. My buddy Rodrigo prefers vodka! Maybe someone here would like to test out a gin caipirinha for us, huh?

Old Fashioned Cocktail 18 Feb 2012
5:36 pm

I have a question about the orange peel. Whenever I try to express the oils over the glass, the peel just tears in half. I try to use thick-skinned navel oranges, but maybe there’s a trick that I don’t know about? Do you have any suggestions?

Old Fashioned Cocktail 6 Jul 2012
11:31 am

Dear Mr. Hess,

You probably need another comment on this video like you need a hole in the head, but this is driving me batty.

Will these proportions work with just about any base spirit? I would guess that maybe different bitters complement different spirits. Isn’t somebody making lavender bitters now? I wonder how that would taste with Hendrick’s…

I have a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s lying around that just doesn’t get used that often, so I tried that instead. It didn’t taste half bad! At least, it didn’t offend my Neanderthal-like palette, but who knows?


Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail 17 Jun 2012
1:09 am

Mr. Hess,

This drink looks exceedingly lovely. I’m going to try it as soon as I can order some orange flower water! The orange flower water you used looked like it was commercially produced—would you mind telling us what brand it is? I saw that Fee Brothers produces several flower waters, orange among them. I wonder if you or any of your other readers have used that specific brand of orange flower water?

This actually reminded me of something I’ve been pondering for a while. Why shake something with ice, only to pour it over more ice? I see a lot of recipes for the Tom Collins which call for this, and it seems redundant. Is there sometimes a practical reason to both shake and serve with ice?

Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail 17 Jun 2012
1:11 am

Ah, excuse me. I didn’t realize that your recipe for the Tom Collins calls for just this kind of thing…if I had, I would have gone ahead and posted on that video instead…

Jasmine Cocktail 28 Jan 2012
7:00 am

Hi Mr. Hess!

Gin is my favorite spirit, and this is a drink that I use to introduce friends to its many splendors! I started with Beefeater, but after a while I got an itch to explore other gins. Unfortunately, this is proving problematic: unlike whiskies, for instance, I can’t compare the flavors of two gins by drinking them by themselves. I want to find a reliable “test cocktail” that softens the gin without confounding its flavor profile. Is the gin & tonic the ideal drink for this? The gimlet? I’ve heard that not all top-shelf gins are suitable for the same drinks, so I’m a little unsure of what to do. Per your recommendation, I try not to take any shortcuts when it comes to modifiers; encountering a given product for the first time can really turn you off if it isn’t mixed with other ingredients of comparable quality.

Jasmine Cocktail 28 Jan 2012
9:12 am

Thanks, jellydonut. Something was telling me that was the way to go. Gotta love those 2-ingredient potables! I appreciate the lime tip; I associate lime & gin & tonics so closely that sometimes I forget that I’m actually adding an additional flavor to the basic ingredients.