Buzzing Over Gin & Honey
Spring has sprung and the change of season always gets my creative juice flowing. I wanted to create a cocktail inspired by the awakening of nature. I love the first blooms in spring and seeing animals awake from their winters nap. It really is a sign of rebirth that is refreshing to me. But first a little story about why I chose to highlight bees & honey, before we dive into this cocktail.
When I was growing up I was (and still kind of am) a bit terrified of bees. I had a childhood neighbor who told me how bad it hurt to get stung. Since then the buzzing of bees freaks me out (I know I am a baby). But as I got older and started working in the beer industry, a lot of breweries would partner up with local beer farmers and introduce honey into crisp beer styles, like pilsner, kolsch and pale ales, at the beginning of the spring season.
Over the years I have been educated on how amazing honey bees, and other pollinators, are to our ecosystem. Not only do they produce that sweet, sticky nectar that is honey, but bees provide the much needed pollination for many types of florals.
Honeycomb from The People's Bees & Bjorn's Vanilla Bean Honey (pictured above)
I developed a take on the traditional Bee's Knees cocktail using some Lavender Gin from Lee Spirits Co, a lavender infused honey simple syrup with Bjorn's Colorado Honey and a honey + sugar rim from The People's Bees.
Lee Spirits Co. is located in Colorado Springs and specializes in gin made in the way batches during prohibition used to be distilled. I chose their Lavender Gin for this cocktail, because Lavender is a nectar rich flower (for the bees) and Lee Spirits infuses their Dry Gin with REAL dried lavender buds. A lot of other Lavender Gin or spirits on the market use a Lavender oil, which can be a bit harsh. Lee's has a subtle floral aroma and nice blush hue.
Bjorn's Colorado Honey makes a Vanilla bean infused honey that I knew would add the perfect buzzzz to this cocktail. Bjorn's is a small batch honey producer located in Boulder, Colorado! Their bee keeper grew up in Sweden and named the company after his grandfather, who taught him about bees and bee keeping. Their Vanilla Bean Honey (I used to make my simple syrup) combines their Clover Honey with ethically sourced vanilla bean from Indonesia.
L'abeille douce - "The Sweet Bee"
1 oz lavender infused honey simple syrup (see below for recipe)
¾ oz lemon juice
honey + turbinado sugar
Lavender Infused Honey Simple Syrup
1/2 cup Bjorn's Vanilla Bean Honey
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons dried lavender buds
Make the simple syrup by simmering equal parts honey & water. When the water is still warm add 3 tablespoons lavender buds and steep for several hours. Strain out the lavender buds and store the simple syrup in an airtight container in the fridge.
To make the cocktail, fill a shaker pint half way with ice and combine 2 oz gin, 1 oz simple syrup and 3/4 oz lemon juice. Rim half a glass with runny honey and coat with coarse turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw. Shake and strain into a glass. Enjoy!
Bee Facts from The American Bee Journal