Friday, March 28, 2014

Orange and Citrus Vodka Infusion Part I

Since the Spring weather is trying its hardest to poke out through the entrenched winter, I've decided to whip up an Orange/Citrus Vodka infusion to try and bring some sunshine into my upcoming cocktails. I didn't measure out how much vodka I used, but I used a at least three cups of vodka and dropped in a bunch of mandarin, tangerine, lemon, ruby red grapefruit and orange peels (without the piths) into the vodka and let it infuse for about three weeks.

It had a very nice orange color to it but I found that at first taste, it was very bitter. I strained out the old peels and added the peels of three Sunkist oranges let it sit for another two weeks. After tasting it again, I found it not to be as bitter as before. Now here is my dilemma. Do I want a sweet Orange/Citrus Vodka Infusion or do I want to leave it as is? Well, lucky for me, I can choose to do both.

I've decided to fully strain out the Sunkist Orange peels. Take the infusion and split it in two.

One will remain as is and the other will be sweetened. On a side note, I also took out a very small amount, placed it in a separate jar with a peel of a Sunkist Orange and a .375 oz square of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate 60% Cacao. I'll go into more detail on this one in a separate post.

For the next post, I'll show what both batches look like side-by-side and how each one tastes.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimson The Color of Blood (1973)

Today's Installment of SiscoVanilla at the Movies takes a decidedly foreign "B" movie flavor with Crimson: The Color of Blood aka Las ratas no duermen de noche aka The Man with the Severed Head (1973).

Directed by Juan Fortuny, Crimson is about a group of criminals who while trying to escape a botched jewelry story heist has one of their members seriously injured with a bullet to the head. In trying to save him, they call upon the doctor who operates on all the criminals. The doctor is a drunken mess and declares that he can't do anything for him. But comes up with the idea of visiting a former colleague who has done work in the field of brain trauma. The movie takes a decidedly sci-fi turn when the plot is hatched to save the injured criminal with ignored consequences. Vague enough for you? Good. Now go to Netflix and watch the movie.

The movie is a Spanish production, filmed in France and dubbed/subtitled in English. I like to see how the fashion of the early 1970's is on display in this movie. It reminds me of looking at old pictures of my parents from the same era. In terms of spirits, the feel is also decidedly 1970's with old scotch brands being the only spirits clearly visible in a number of scenes.

In this scene Henry (Olivier Mathot) clearly has a bottle of White Horse Scotch Whisky in view.

White Horse is one of those Scotch whisky brands like Cutty Sark that brings back memories of stuff that my dad would have drank in the 70's. Now the White Horse brand doesn't have an official website. It is currently owned by the corporate company Diageo and this is where I start with my fact finding mission.

According to the Diageo listing for White Horse:
Launch: 1890 (this is the earliest reference; and is also the date that White Horse was registered as a trade mark in the UK by Peter Jeffrey Mackie)...White Horse Blended Scotch Whisky is named after one of Scotland's famous coaching inns. The White Horse Cellar Inn in Edinburgh was the starting place for the eight-day coach trip to London.
Now from what I'm reading, Peter Mackie was quite the character. The listing for White Horse on the ClubWhisky website lists him as being as follows:
Peter Mackie, founder and first blender of White Horse Scotch Whisky, has been described as "one third genius, one third megalomaniac, one third eccentric". And by all accounts, he was all three.

"If we cannot afford to buy the best, especially in the matter of Scotch whisky," he was fond of saying," we should save our money and go without." Affectionately known as "Restless Pete", a name he acquired because of his unstoppable enthusiasm and unbridled genius, Sir Peter dedicated the rest of his life to producing only the best. 
White Horse Scotch Whisky is a blended whisky that contains the single malt whisky Lagavulin as one of the whiskys used in the blending. As the label states:
White Horse Scotch Whisky is a fine matured blend containing at its heart the unique flavor of Lagavulin, a single malt whisky from the Islay in the Hebrides...Aged a minimum of 3 years according to the Scotch Whisky act of the United Kingdom.
Click here to download the pdf listing for the Scotch Whisky Association's The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (2/12/2009). For a review of White Horse Scotch whisky, click on Jason's Scotch Whisky Review's listing for White Horse called Review: White Horse Blended Scotch Whisky from May 10, 2012.

For an interesting view of White Horse Scotch Whisky and Scotland in the 1930's, watch the following video:

The other scotch whisky brand that is clearly seen in the next two pictures is J&B scotch whisky

J&B scotch whisky is also a blended whisky whose history is paved on the boulevard of broken hearts. According to the J&B website:
1749- Our history dates back to 1749 when Giacomo Justerini, an Italian from Bologna, came to London to woo the Italian opera singer Margherita Bellino. Spurned, he remained in London and set himself up as a Wine Merchant in Pall Mall with his English partner George Johnson. Together they ran a very fashionable and successful business catering to London’s high living aristocracy.

1760- Johnson and Justerini win the first of their nine Royal Warrants (as suppliers of fine wines and spirits to the Royal Household) from King George III.

1779- Johnson and Justerini advertise their fine wines, spirits and liqueurs in “The Morning Post” – 17 June. This included “Usquebaugh” the original name for whisky and is the first recorded advertisement in our history.

1831- Alfred Brooks buys the business from the third generation of Johnson and renames it Justerini & Brooks.

1930’s – J&B RARE as we know it today is born – created primarily from when Prohibition in the United States is lifted, to give Americans something palatable after all the illegal moonshine they had been drinking.
For a bit more in depth and entertaining history of the J&B brand, check out the following video:

In terms of the kind of scotch whisky that J&B is, the website describes it as such:
Each time you sip J&B RARE, 42 different whiskies pass your lips. They are carefully blended together to create a subtle, smooth and complex flavour. The delicate balance is what gives J&B RARE its distinctive character. If we took even one whisky away you would taste the difference.

The heart of J&B RARE is formed by Speyside Malt Whiskies. They provide the fruity, fresh quality you can taste, and give J&B its light colour. Speyside is recognised as the superior area in Scotland for making malt.

Added to that are some of the finest grain whiskies Scotland has to offer. They help reveal the individual flavours of the various malts, unveiling the pleasant, smooth character of J&B.
I'm actually quite surprised by this post. I went from being about two scotch whiskys found in a Spanish/French "B" movie to a very informative glimpse into the history of scotch whisky. You never know what will lead you to discovery which is why I like to live by the mantra: You need to learn something new everyday. Not doing so will be wasting your life here on earth. I defintely learned something new today. I hope you did as well.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Flash Point aka Dou Fo Sin (2007)

Today's installment of SiscoVanilla at the Movies is a Hong Kong Crime/Action movie called Flash Point aka Dou Fo Sin (2007) starring Donnie Yen and Louis Koo as Police Detectives who are trying to bring down a Vietnamese-Chinese crime group led by brothers Tony (Collin Chou), Archer Sin (Ray Lui) and Tiger (Yu Xing). Detective Ma (Donnie Yen) is a kick ass first, ask question later kind of cop whose partner Wilson (Louis Koo) is working undercover within Tony's gang. The martial arts fights in this movie are simple amazing, especially the final fight between Ma and Tony. In case you don't know, Collin Chou is the character Seraph from the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. In those movies he's the guardian of the Oracle who tests Neo in the playground before letting him in to see her. If you like full blown martial arts sequences in a modern urban setting, you need to watch Flash Point. Now on to the liquor reference.

I say reference for a reason. Many times you'll see different kinds of liquor bottles being shown in films with their labels obscured by lets say other bottles, or by being turned around with the labels facing away from the camera. Some bottles and labels are distinctive though they may not be seen clearly. Not so in this movie. Aside from a brief scene or two where wine bottles are seen (and used to throw at someone's head in a club) there is only one liquor reference in this film: Johnnie Walker Black Label. Now I know that Johnnie Walker Black is the flagship product for the Johnnie Walker line of Scotch Whisky but I find it hard to believe that it is the only scotch that people in this Hong Kong movie drink. 

You have Johnnie Walker in the opening scene at the club front and center in front of undercover Detective Wilson.

Then you have a wall of Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles with labels on them in the lounge where Tony meets some of the Hong Kong Triad leaders. 

Now, this isn't so odd in that there are clubs where patrons can buy a membership which includes a whole bottle that they pay for and can consume at their leisure whenever they visit the club. So I can see where the labels come in but what is weird is that EVERY bottle on the wall is Johnnie Walker Black. 

Fast forward to the birthday party scene for the mother of the Sin brothers. As Tony realizes that something is wrong, Wilson is standing by a table that is full of guess what: Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles.

That is one helluva party if Johnnie Walker Black is the only spirit being consumed. Johnnie Walker is even used as a reference in a conversation between Wilson and his lady friend Julie (Bingbing Fan). About people who created lives for themselves by doing what they wanted. 

Product placement in movies isn't a rare thing. I just find it odd that if Diageo, the company that owns Johnnie Walker paid to have their product placed in this movie, why is it only Johnnie Walker Black that is showcased. As far as I know in 2007 they had the Red, Green and Blue Labels on the market. I'm not sure what other blends they had in the Asian market but it would seem to me that showcasing all the available labels rather than only the Black Label would seem a prudent way to build interest in all the labels. But enough about how Johnnie Walker Black is seen in the movie. Let's talk about Johnnie Walker Black itself. 

According to the Black Label entry on the Johnnie Walker website:
Regarded by experts as the ultimate Scotch deluxe whisky, the benchmark by which all others are measured. With its origins in the 1870s Old Special Highland Whisky, Johnnie Walker Black Label simply became "Black Label" in 1909
Each bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label is two decades in the planning, draws whisky from the finest distilleries across Scotland and is aged in the finest whisky casks. Each whisky is matured in a slightly different way, due to the intricacies of wood, climate and location. The Master Blender's skill is in blending these whiskies together to create a whisky with an extraordinary range of flavor.
Johnnie Walker has the luxury of having exclusive access to Scotland's very best whiskies, ranging from the powerful west coast malts all the way to the more subtle east coast flavors. Black Label draws upon all these aromas to create a unique blend with a smooth, deep and complex character.
The best way to drink it?
It can be enjoyed on its own, with a dash of still or sparkling water, or with soda or ginger ale as a long drink.
Don't take the website's word for it? Why not watch this video with Johnnie Walker Brand Ambassador and Master of Whisky Stephen Wilson and learn the best ways to enjoy Johnnie Walker Black and other Labels:

And I would be neglectful to talk about Johnnie Walker Black without showing the spokesperson for that brand here in the United States: Cristina Hendricks

Well, on that note. I guess we're done =) Enjoy!!!

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Hi Fi Cocktail

In my last post on the movie OSS 117 Lost in Rio aka OSS 117 Rio ne répond plus (2009), I make mention of a cocktail that I saw on a drinks menu during the movie. To refresh your memory, here is the picture with said menu:

The fifth drink on the menu is what stood out to me: The Hi Fi cocktail. In searching online, I found that the Hi Fi cocktail is basically a variation of The Screwdriver, which is vodka and orange juice. According to the Cocktail Hunter listing for a Hi Fi Cocktail the cocktail is made with 1 1/2 oz Vodka and an Orange soda to top with an orange slice garnish. I also saw on the Cocktails Wiki page the Hi Fi Cocktail that the drink is made with 1 shot of Vodka and 2 shots Orange Carbonated Drink such as Orangina or Orange Crush over ice with an orange slice as garnish.

This wouldn't be the first time that I used Orangina in a cocktail. Back on December 21, 2012, I wrote a post entitled Le Grand Orange whose recipe bears a similarity to the two recipes listed above. In Le Grand Orange, I used 2oz Absolute Mandarin, a Splash of Grand Marnier with an Orangina top off and Orange slice garnish. Since I already used Orangina for this cocktail, I decided to use something else for the Hi Fi cocktail.

In my local supermarket, I found that they stocked Sanpelligrino Aranciata. Here is how the Sanpelligrino Aranciata is described on the Sanpelligrino website:
Sanpellegrino Aranciata, the Italian orangeade par excellence, is a product with an unique taste and a long history, being born in 1932. It has become a status symbol exported worldwide, distinguished by Italian style. The full taste and the naturalness of Italian oranges characterize this delicious non-alcoholic sparkling soft drink. To be enjoyed chilled.
After picking up a six-pack of bottles, I decided to make the Hi Fi Cocktail:
Hi Fi Cocktail
2oz of Grey Goose Vodka
6oz of Sanpellegrino Aranciata orange sparkling water

Build over ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with an Orange slice.
After Momma-San saw me drinking a couple of these cocktails, she stated "It looks like you need an umbrella in that drink", which considering that it came off the menu, at the bar of a hotel pool in the movie it makes sense.

The cocktail was very light and refreshing. The Aranciata gave the cocktail a nice bubbly and silky feel. It felt very tropical. I also decided to make one cocktail with some Diet Sunkist orange soda but found that it wasn't the same as with the Aranciata. It lacked fizz. It was actually kind of bland.

You could very simply substitute the Vodka for Gin (as I did after five cocktails caused me to kill my Grey Goose Vodka bottle). But I find that I prefer it with Vodka. The neutral aspect of the Vodka lets the orange flavors stand out rather than blending in with the Gin.

There you have the Hi Fi cocktail. Next time you're on vacation in Italy or in your living room, feel free to make yourself one or seven like I did =)

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Thursday, March 13, 2014

OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus (2009)

Today's installment of SiscoVanilla at the Movies stays in the world of French secret agent OSS 117. The year is 1967 and this time the case takes him to Rio De Janeiro where he clashes with the Chinese, the Germans, the Nazis and two luchadores while butting heads with the CIA and the Mossad. Cocktails and beautiful women are plentiful while Agent de La Bath (Jean Dujardin) is on the case in OSS 117 Lost in Rio aka OSS 117 Rio ne répond plus (2009).

The first instance of cocktails is during the scene at the hotel pool where Agent de La Bath is impressing all the ladies at the pool with his physique as he climbs up to the high dive platform. As he gets ready to dive into the pool, he gets a bout of acrophobia (fear of heights) due to a past experience that is highlighted in flashback. He disappoints the ladies by not diving into the pool. The scene at the bar where the ladies look away in disappointment, there is a Drinks menu on the board.

Here is a list of the drinks:

  • Bloody Mary
  • Gin (Something or other. I couldn't read the second word)
  • Cuba Libre
  • Caipirinha
  • Hi Fi
  • Kir Royale
  • Alexander
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Dry Martini
  • Daiquiri
  • Negroni
I will focus on the one cocktail I hadn't heard of before in my next post which is The Hi Fi Cocktail. For now I want to go into something that I find funny about the next scene. 

The camera pans across a table that has a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and five empty cocktail glasses. 

I know these two movies by director Michel Hazanavicius are an homage to the 1960's era spy movies especially the Sean Connery James Bond movies. But I can't help wonder if this scene is out and out poking fun at the impression that spies can just drink countless cocktails and still function flawlessly. Let's fast forward to a recent James Bond Movie: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a plane flying from Talamone, Italy to La Paz, Bolivia with Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini). Mathis seems to awaken from sleep, notices that Bond is not asleep and finds Bond at the bar. When Mathis asks Bond what's he been drinking, Bond has the bartender describe the cocktail which is Ian Fleming's recipe for the Vesper cocktail: 3 measures Gordon's Gin, 1 measure Vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shake until ice cold and garnish with a long, thin lemon peel. As per the bartender, Bond has had six of them and is awake, brooding and as intense as ever. 

Let's go back to Agent OSS 117 who is at poolside in Rio de Janeiro. As seen above, OSS 117 has polished off five cocktails. So what's he doing? He's doing what most of us would probably be doing...

Sleeping. LOL. I'm not sure if that was done fully tongue-in-cheek by the director but I have to tell you, if I had five cocktails I'd probably resemble OSS 117 more than 007. 

A day or so later Agent OSS 117 makes contact with the Mossad agents in Rio who want to work together with him to find their common enemy: Von Zimmel. After some solo reconnaissance, Mossad Agent Dolorès Koulechov (Louise Monot) find OSS 117 in of all places: 

In a bar...conversing with two beautiful ladies. Surprised? Now why would you be. 

She asks him if he's had any progress on the case and of course he hasn' least not consciously. Koulechov states that Von Zimmel has made contact with the CIA and the CIA agent in charge in Rio is Bill Trumendous (Ken Samuels) who happens to be friends with de La Bath and has recently given him his business card. Off to CIA headquarters to see Trumendous. 

At CIA Headquarters Trumendous asks one of his secretaries to bring them "3 Groovy Coconuts" while being just as misogynistic and demeaning as Agent OSS 117 can be. 

This cocktail intrigues me since nothing comes up for it on the internet. I am going to assume that this cocktail drunk straight from coconut shells with a pretty umbrella sticking out from it is an alcoholic drink. Especially since you can see the "Mad Men" style bar cart in the background full of bottles of liquor.

I'm going to have to come up with an idea of a cocktail called a Groovy Coconut for when the weather starts to warm. Any ideas? Suggestions?

Well that's all for now in the world of Agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, alias OSS 117. My next post will be on the Hi Fi cocktail that I mention above. Come back and check it out.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Powers Whisky Changes from 80 Proof to 86.4 Proof

I recently started to notice that the rebranded Powers whisky bottles were starting to hit our shelves at the Bleecker Street Bar. While Jameson still remains as our number one Irish whisky seller at the bar, I believe that Powers is the second best seller. Now something was brought up to me the other day concerning Powers. My friend John, who is a long-time bartender asked me if we had the old Powers or the new Powers. While (at the time that I wrote this post) we still had both on the shelf, the one closest to me was the new Powers. After asking John whether or not he wanted some, he answered "they've gone and made it sweeter. They ruined it.". That got me looking at the bottles.

On the old bottle (left in the picture) I saw that Powers was listed at 40% abv or 80 proof. While the new bottle (right in the picture) was listed at 43.2% abv or 86.4 proof. I wanted to find out why the sudden change in whisky strength. I decided to head straight to the source. This is how the Powers Gold Label whisky is described on the Powers whisky website:
Powers Gold Label is a complex spice and honeyed taste experience. Every drop is triple distilled, with more cut from the top and tail of the second and third Pot Still charges. This means only the purest heart of the distillate is captured. This is then left to mature in select American oak casks which allow our distillate driven style to shine. Powers Gold Label is blended with the finest grain whiskey, also exclusively matured in American oak casks. Finally, a proprietary Powers 
production technique enables a non-chill filtration at 43.2% ABV – unique amongst Irish whiskey.

Nose: Cinnamon, clove oil and white pepper in balance with russet apples and ripe pears, on a background of charred oak.

Taste: Cinnamon, green peppers and a touch of nutmeg combined with orchard fruits, vanilla and toasted oak. All laid upon a crisp barley core.

Finish: Long Pot Still oils and spices slowly fade to rich barley and toasted wood.
Well that's all fine and dandy but it doesn't explain why the change in strength. The website Liquid Irish in their post Mighty Morphin' Powers somewhat explains the non-chill filtration process:
A more subtle change is the bump from 40% ABV to 43.2%. This means the whiskey needs no chill-filtration before bottling, a process that prevents cloudiness at low temperatures but also removes flavour-giving compounds in the spirit.

Conventional wisdom puts the cut-off ABV for rendering filtration unnecessary at 46% but the triple-distilled spirit in Powers is not so susceptible to low temps so 43.2% does the trick.
The article Powers Goes Back to Its Roots with New Look and New Whiskies on the Beverage Media Group website from October 15, 2013 clarifies the change in strength somewhat:
The two significant changes to the range include; 1) updated packaging and a return to its original export strength of 43.2% (86.4 proof) for Powers Gold Label and 2) the addition of a new Single Pot Still expression, Powers Signature Release.
Well, I guess that will have to do. I had one of our Powers' drinkers give me their impression with a blind tasting. Megan tasted both and gave the following impressions without knowing which one she was tasting. The 80 proof Powers tasted somewhat like what a lesser refined alcohol would taste like. It burned more in comparison to the 86.4 proof Powers. The newer one was much more refined and smoother. She preferred the newer version.

One one hand I have John who doesn't like the newer Powers and Megan who does. So I guess I'll have to do a blind tasting of my own to see if I can tell the difference.

I had Pete pour me two tasters which I labeled "A" and "B". I tasted each one blindly and noticed the following. "A" had a burn on the tongue and I found it to be harsh both on the tongue and to the nose. "B" on the other hand had a much more subdued nose and was softer on the tongue. It didn't have the burn that "A" did. Pete divulged that "A" was the new Powers while "B" was the older version. I couldn't tell if one version was sweeter than the other. Pete and I both agreed that the older 80 proof version was smoother than the new version. I decided to have one more person give the taste test. I had my friend Chuck, who is a Powers drinker, do the test. Here is how it went.

As with my taste test, I did his blindly and this is what he thought of the two Powers: "A" was not as strong while "B" was stronger in taste and was much sweeter than "A". For his test, "A" was the 80 proof while "B" is the 86.4 proof version.

So what does this mean? Who knows. Its amazing how four different people can have different impressions on the two Powers Irish whiskys. The change hasn't caused Powers to lose in sales at the bar. I still would rate it behind Jameson and in front of Bushmills and Tullamore Dew. What do you think out there. Any opinions on the change in proof in Powers Irish Whisky? Let me know. I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts.

Until then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions (2006)

Before we go into today's feature, allow me to apologize to you all for the delay in posting. The last two weeks at work have been real hectic. It gets hard to write when all you do is work and sleep. But, I'm back and here is today's installment of SiscoVanilla at the Movies: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies aka OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions (2006).

Now I'm not sure if you've noticed from my prior SiscoVanilla at the Movies posts, I love spy flicks. They are some of my most favorite types of films. They are good with booze and cocktail references since it seems that spies are always indulging in a tipple or a libation. So when I came across this movie a few years back, I couldn't help myself. What's there not to like.

OSS 117 is French spy spoof series based on the original OSS 117 movies based on the books Jean Bruce, his wife Josette Bruce and their children Francois and Martine Bruce. As per the Double O Section blogpage post OSS 117 Week dated May 11, 2010:
OSS 117 is the code name for Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, an American secret agent of French descent (from Louisiana) created by French author Jean Bruce.  Bruce wrote an astounding 91 novels about his spy hero between 1949 (pre-dating Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel) and his untimely death in 1963.  After that, his widow, Josette Bruce, penned an aditional 143 novels about Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, and after her their children, Francois Bruce and Martine Bruce, wrote 24 more titles in what had become the family business.  The last novel was published in 1992.
The film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is made to resemble those early James Bond films in both look and feel. OSS 117 is directed by Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and stars the 2012 Academy Award winner for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin.

The movie is based between 1954 and 1959. Why do I say that? The President of France during the movie is René Jules Gustave Coty who was President of France from 1954-1959. He is mentioned a number of times (with reverence) by the movie's protagonist Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, alias secret agent OSS 117 (Dujardin). Never let it be said that I don't find a way to include some World History into my boozy movie posts. But I digress.

De La Bath sent to Egypt in order to find out what happened to OSS agent 230 Jack Jefferson, who happens to be good friends with de La Bath. What transpires is the discovering of a Muslim insurrection in Egypt, the double cross of de La Bath by various people, a return of an old enemy and a happy ending all due to the bumbling of de La Bath. I'm keeping the story vague so you can watch the movie. This is SiscoVanilla's cliff notes to the movies. But onward we go.

In the scene at the party in the British Embassy, we get out first glimpse as a cocktail reference. de La Bath is with Jefferson's secretary Larmina El Akmar Betouche (Bérénice Bejo). He asks her if she would like something to drink. He offers her a Suze

Then a Lillet, Dubonnet, Cinzano, Brandy?

This got me thinking about these offerings. I wanted to elaborate the first four which fall under the banner of an aperitif. For those of you who don't know what an aperitif is, here is how it is defined on the Do You Dubonnet website:
WHAT IS AN APERITIF? Originating from the Latin word aperio, aperitifs were originally conceived to "open" or prepare the appetite for a meal.
Now that we got the definition out of the way, here goes my research on the four aperitifs mentioned in the movie.

Suze is a French bitters what is usually consumed as an aperitif that was created Fernand Moureaux in 1889 which is notable in French history as being the year that the Exposition Universelle of 1889 (1889 World's Fair) was held in Paris, France and the famed Eiffel Tower was unveiled to the world. Moureaux used gentian root as the base of his aperitif rather than using wine as other brands of aperitif used. According to the translation from the Suze website:
Comprising 50% of fresh roots of wild gentian, aromatic base Suze is a subtle mixture of infusion and spirit of gentian, obtained by maceration and distillation. The spirit reveals spicy and fruity notes of gentian, enhanced with extracts of herbs, where Suze keeps secret since its inception. Its aromatic richness results from a subtle balance between the fresh gentian and many aromatic plant extracts. Low alcohol (15% vol), Suze is ideal to accompany all your drinks.
In terms of flavor:
The contrast of flavors Suze is surprising free or progressive in the mouth, bitter surprise at first, then said, and appreciates over tastings.

Dress (Look)
Bright, amber gold, with light reflections yellow-green, which suggests a world of flavors.

Notes of fresh gentian, accompanied by warm notes of vanilla and orange marmalade.

Palace (Flavor)
The warm notes and gourmet candied orange and spices soften the bitterness of fresh gentian.
As with many other brands, the Suze brand has expanded with varied blends of their original product such as the Suze Citrus and Suze Red Fruits.

As with Suze, Lillet is a French aperitif. Unlike Suze, Lillet is made primarily with wine from the Bourdeaux region of France.

According to the Lillet website:
Jean Lillet came from Saint-Morillon in Gironde and moved to Podensac, a small town near Sauternes in the Graves region, in 1680. His descendants Raymond and Paul Lillet, merchants of fine wines, liqueurs and spirits, founded Lillet in 1872. They created Bordeaux’s first and only aperitif, known as Kina Lillet until the 1970s when it became simply Lillet, a blend of Bordeaux wines and handcrafted fruit liqueurs produced in Podensac...a small village south of Bordeaux, is the birthplace of the Lillet aperitif, a subtle blend of rigorously selected wines (85%) and of fruit liqueurs (15%) handcrafted on site...Sweet oranges from southern Spain or Tunisia, bitter oranges from Haiti, quinine from Peru.
When it comes to making the most mainstream cocktail (arguably) containing Kina Lillet (which is from Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royale named The Vesper) is that the cocktail can't be made as per the original recipe since the Lillet Blanc is not made the same way. According to the article What's the Deal with Cocchi Aperitivo Americano? by Paul Clarke from the Drinks section of the Serious Eats website:
A reformulation in 1986 removed the product's quinine bite (along with the quinine-related "Kina" from the name), in the process altering the flavor characteristics Lillet delivered when mixed in a cocktail.
Based on that information, the newer formula has the following tasting notes:
Colour: Golden

Nose: Flowery

Mouth: Aromas of candied oranges, honey, pine resin and exotic fruits. Full and fleshy on the palate.

Finish: Long aromas.
Based on this information and that the movie was set in 1955, the Lillet de La Bath offers Larmina would be the original recipe that is also found in Fleming's Vesper. I do have to link all the spy stuff together. Right?

Dubonnet is also a French aperitif wine that was introduced to the world in 1846. According to the Do You Dubonnet website:
From its origins with the French Foreign Legion to the legions of modern mixologists still using it today, Dubonnet Rouge Aperitif Wine has been a staple on the cocktail landscape since its introduction in 1846. Created by Parisian chemist / wine merchant Joseph Dubonnet as a means to make quinine more palatable for the soldiers battling malaria in North Africa, Dubonnet's mix of fortified wine, a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels, and the medicinal quinine is a recipe that has earned it legendary status in the world of sophisticated drinks...Its 19 percent alcohol content ensures a refreshing drink in the summertime, while its port-like flavors promise a hint of holiday in the winter months...aperitif wines such as Dubonnet make up a special class called "aromatized" wines - fortified wines that have been flavored with herbs, roots, flowers, barks and other botanicals
There is Dubonnet Blanc but the Rouge is better known. An interesting side note on Dubonnet comes from Jason Wilson in his article Spirits: Dubonnet, in Sickness and in Health from the Washington Post dated January 9, 2009:
Dubonnet reportedly is a preferred tipple of Queen Elizabeth II and was favored by the late Queen Mother. "I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed," the Queen Mother once wrote to her butler in preparation for an outdoor lunch. Last summer, that handwritten note was sold at auction for 16,000 pounds.
Cinzano is an Italian brand that has a range of Vermouth that were created in the Piedmont Region of Italy starting in 1757. Cinzano is currently owned by the Campari group. Here is how the Palm Bay International webpage describes the start of Cinzano:
In 1757 CINZANO’s two visionary brothers, Giovanni Giacomo and Carolo Stefano Cinzano, Master Distillers, opened a small shop in Turin where a dream soon became a reality.

As their traditional Vermouth production rapidly increased, so did their reputation for exceptional quality.

Cinzano is the finest tasting imported vermouth for many leading wine and spirits connoisseurs. Its proprietary herb-infused recipe has remained unchanged since 1757. 
Three varieties of Vermouth that were sold under the Cinzano name are as follows (as per the Palm Bay: International catalog):
- Cinzano Bianco: Fragrant and full-bodied yet delicate vermouth with aromas of fresh herbs, lemon and spice.
- Cinzano Rosso: Dark red in color with intense flavors of citrus and berries with a pleasantly bitter finish.
- Cinzano Extra Dry: An off-dry Vermouth characterized by its pale yellow hue. Aromatic herbs create a fresh and fragrant flavor.
The Bianco and Rosso are both 15% (30 proof) while the Extra Dry is 18% abv (36 proof). There have also been Rosé, Orancio and Limetto varieties added to the Cinzano banner in recent years.

That's all on the aperitifs mentioned in the embassy party scene. But there is one little mystery in the movie. Later on in the movie, de La bath is at the cafe in the Hotel Metropolitan and the waiter bring him a cocktail

Neither the server, nor de La Bath mention the cocktail by name

At quick look, it would seem that de La Bath is enjoying himself a Manhattan. Any other suggestions on what he might be drinking based on the era of the late 1950's?

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access the ExpoMuseum website for information of the Exposition Universelle of 1889