Benjamin D.

since December 2009 job Trevelling English Teacher


Grasshopper Cocktail 11 Oct 2012
1:34 pm

So, a grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, “hey, we’ve got a drink named after you!” The grasshopper says, “really? You’ve got a drink named Murry?”

...sorry, I couldn’t help myself—I had to post it. Somehow, I love this drink. It should be a girly drink, it’s even suspicious in its cocktail classification. And yet, it’s just plain fun. Probably because it reminds us of childhood…with alcohol.

Algonquin Cocktail 21 Jul 2012
5:10 am

I really don’t recommend freshly juiced pineapple in anything. I tried it once on a trip to Mexico, trying to create a pina colada with all fresh products. I pureed the fruit in a blender and then strained it through a fine mesh strainer. It really did not work out. The fruit is too acidic on its own and the juice would either need to be scaled back in a cocktail (where the fruitiness and flavor could be lost) or slightly sweetened and perhaps watered down. Since the sweetness and acidity of each pineapple varies so much, I think the second option would be necessary no matter what for some kind of consistency. Otherwise, it would taste nothing like the folks at the Algonquin probably intended.

Jack Rose Cocktail 26 Jun 2012
11:35 am

Hi Robert,

I was wondering, what exactly is the difference between the process of making Applejack vs. Calvados? Can I substitute one for the other? For whatever bizarre reason, calvados seems to be easier to find. Keep up the good work!

Sazerac Cocktail 18 Jun 2012
2:10 pm

A fine sazerac indeed! I would personally add the lemon zest however. I love extra fruitiness it adds. I greatly appreciated it when at Little Branch in New York, they positioned the peel neatly on top of the glass to let the customer decide whether to add it to the drink or not.

Ford Cocktail 12 Jan 2012
12:07 pm

Okay, so you gave us the ford, the poet’s dream and the caprice. Can I ask Robert, which is your favorite? Which one do you feel captures the right balance of ingredients?

Royalist Cocktail 7 Sep 2011
11:14 am

Since we’re on the topic of vermouth, can I get your opinion of bianco vermouth, Robert? I’ve noticed that you have never use it. I imagine that in a drink like this with so much benedictine that bianco would simply make it too sweet. But are there any cocktails you would indeed recommend for it? On a side note, bianco is so popular with women in Russia that if you order a martini at a bar (unless it’s specifically a cocktail bar like Help), you’d end up with Martini & Rossi’s bianco vermouth on the rocks. I kid you not.

Monkey Gland Cocktail 26 Apr 2011
10:45 am

Robert, I noticed a discrepancy on the place of origin and creator of this drink. The side bar description says it was created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris (which I ran across before—except, eh, I think on their website) but in the program you said it was created at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. I suppose it doesn’t matter much in the end but being a history buff as well as a cocktail geek, I like to give credit where credit is due. So, which one is more plausible?

Monkey Gland Cocktail 26 Apr 2011
11:31 am

Cool! Thanks Robert! It’s that kind of detail and research I like about you.

Brandy Alexander Cocktail 1 Feb 2011
9:09 am

I also like to add a few dashes of Angostura bitters it this. It’s not so much for the bitterness (which gets lost in the cream and sweetness anyway) but for all of the spices which work well with the nutmeg.

Vermouth in Cocktails - The Golden Ratio 12 Dec 2010
3:00 pm

I love the balance of these drinks. It really reminds me of a sweet vermouth version of Robert Hess’ Black Feather Cocktail. I’m tasting one now made with bourbon, red vermouth, kahlua and angostura bitters (just what I had in my liquor cabinet) and it tastes spot on. The vermouth doesn’t over power the drink and despite the amount, it doesn’t seem nearly as pronounced as it is in a manhattan. It just fills in the gaps, adding that sweetness in a subtle way. Great! Thanks for all your cool tricks Jamie!

Gimlet Cocktail 9 Nov 2010
8:30 am


I’m a little reluctant to purchase a product I might only use for a single cocktail (leaving it on the shelf for God only knows how long) and my instinct tells me to use fresh lime. I know you’ve tried the difference and prefer the Rose’s lime juice but is there a way of approximating the flavors with fresh limes, in a sense creating not a tailored sour mix but actually your own lime cordial? Perhaps this would taste fresher…or perhaps I’m just making things too complicated in a quixotic search for a slightly better flavor.

Lu Brow - New Orleans - 2010 28 Dec 2010
2:29 pm

Um…so what exactly is in the Half Cocked? It was never explained in the show.

Modern Martini with Olive Poppers 14 Oct 2010
10:27 pm

I love the olive popper idea and will deffinitely try it for my next cocktail party. Thanks Kathy! I just have an extreme dislike for martinis made with so little vermouth. Come on modern people, you’re just drinking gin with ice water! This is something the late Victorians really had on us, especially with their use of orange bitters. But I know, I know, it’s a personal thing.

Mint Julep Cocktail 3 May 2011
12:13 pm

Does anyone have any pointers for keeping mint fresh in dry climates? I’ve tried putting it with cut stems in a glass of water, both in and out of the refrigerator. I’ve tried wrapping them in lightly damp paper towels and storing it in the fridge. I’ve tried a plastic bag with holes. Nothing seems to keep mint for more than 2 or (with picking out the wilted bits) 3 days in Arizona or Mexico. Quite frustrating!

Mint Julep Cocktail 27 May 2011
4:45 pm

Chris and Blair,

A thousand thank yous for your great tips! I tried a Tupperware container (though I’m sure a zip-lock bag would work equally as well) and actually cut a corner off of an unused sponge, dampened it and stuck in a bunch of herbabuena with cut stems (the Latin-American, especially Cuban variety of mint). I threw the whole thing in the fridge and a week later it was still perfect—it looked even better than the store’s. After two weeks in the fridge, it was still usable! Unbelievable! I’ve never been able to get that kind of shelf life out of fresh mint. Thank you!

Pisco Sour Cocktail 2 Feb 2013
9:07 am

When I was living in Mexico, I had the hardest time finding what we call lemons. I asked all of my students where I could find lemons and they were just as confused as I was. I described them and they instructed me to go to the local market where, they assured me,I would find them. What I found was something they called a lima. It was yellow alright but it sure as hell was not a lemon. Desperate, I bought it anyway and saw what it could do. It must be this fruit Robert’s friend was talking about. It was slightly sweet and not too powerfully acidic; subtle even. Months later, I finally found what I was looking for. Believe it or not, it was at Wal-Mart; the first place I should have looked. And sure enough when I checked out the label: product of the U.S.A. It seems that lemons are just as mysterious to those South of the border as limas are to us.

Old Cuban Cocktail 11 Dec 2009
9:48 am

Hi Robert,

This website is great! I’ve learned so much about cocktails and have been making and appreciating well balanced drinks ever since I

Coffee Cocktail 14 Mar 2010
10:21 am


I’ve been to a bar that has something similar to this called the porto flip. Is there any difference? I suppose this is the original. Perhaps modern bartenders are reluctant to call anything without coffee a coffee cocktail.

Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail 4 Jan 2011
1:54 pm

Going back to the conversation about curdling, I actually have some experience with cheese production in Africa (long story). Basically what I found was that the fresher the milk, the harder it would be to curdle. So, while an old bottle of milk could possibly go off with a few tablespoons of lemon juice (and even then heating was required unless it bordered on spoilage), I wouldn’t be too concerned about it for fresh dairy. In fact, a common substitute for bakers who have no buttermilk is to take one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of fresh milk, then wait ten minutes. I’ve done this many times and although the milk thickens slightly, it certainly doesn’t curdle. Just use fresh cream and your Ramos Gin Fizz will be fine.

Black Feather Cocktail 26 Feb 2010
2:22 pm

Hello Robert,

I absolutely love this drink and appreciate your fondness for vermouth. Great job creating this one!

I was reading your comment of this drink on your DrinkBoy website and you mentioned using homemade bitters. I was wondering/hoping if you could make a web cast of the preparation of bitters, particularly recipes of possible substitutes for angostura, orange and peychauds bitters. You see, at the moment I live in Moscow, Russia and bitters are about as hard to find here as a sensible Republican. I have a couple bitters left from the U.S. but I fear that they will soon run out. I’d really like to find a way to make them myself whenever supply becomes a daunting task, in this country or wherever else life might take me. Plus I imagine I could play around with a basic recipe to create other flavors (the obscure celery bitters come to mind—ha, I was just joking about how obscure that bitter is with a friend today). Anyway, I think it would be a useful skill to have.


Wet Martini Cocktail 9 Jun 2010
8:11 am

Hi Robert,

What are your thoughts on the type of dry vermouth? There are of course the extra dry vermouth and the bianco vermouth which is quite a bit sweeter. Martini & Rossi produce both sorts and Noilly Prat seems to be closer akin to the extra dry Martini & Rossi. I’ve tried both and they seem like completely different drinks. What would have been the original? Personally, I’ve found the extra dry to work better with an olive and more savory flavors but I think the sweetness of the bianco makes for a nice drink with a lemon twist and orange bitters. Any thoughts?