Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
I’ve been playing around a lot this week with honey. Honey is such a brilliant and versatile sweetener. There are so many variations of honey and they all have such subtle sweetness and intrigue. I have a love affair with honey. But that’s my issue, not yours, so let’s get moving. Here are two honey syrups that will add spice, depth and deliciousness to your cocktails.
Syrup #1 is made from an orange blossom honey syrup. Orange blossom honey is freaking wonderful. It is made from the blossoms of citrus trees and is typically a light and slightly fruity honey. This version from Honey Gardens is divine.
When you open up raw honey, it kind of looks like lip balm, but don’t let that deter you. Take one half of a cup of honey and one half of a cup of water, put it on the stove and bring it to a simmer to combine. I don’t find that a honey syrup benefits a lot from an extended simmer on the stove. I just like to incorporate the ingredients and then get it off the heat. It’s that simple. After its incorporated, switch it to a different container and put it in the refrigerator. It probably doesn’t need to be refrigerated but I like it that way. You can do what you like with it. After your syrup is ready, check out the recipe below for the best damn margarita you’ll ever taste.
Syrup #2 is made with pure wildflower honey (Sorry for the poor picture, I’ve never been much of a photographer).
Wildflower honey is a fragrant honey that is typically a bit thicker and richer (in my opinion) than your regular grocery store honey. It has a dark amber color and a real concentrated sweetness and flavor. It comes, not surprisingly, from wildflowers which means it can vary from producer to producer and from season to season. For this syrup I was looking for spice, so before I took one cup of wildflower honey and tossed in 1/4 cup of cracked black peppercorns. After they were incorporated, I put the mixture on the stove, added 1 cup of water and brought it up to a simmer. After it was all combined I removed it from the heat and let it sit for a few days so that the honey could soak in the spice.
At the end of the day, I had two great syrups, one raw orange blossom honey syrup and one peppered wildflower honey syrup. And they looked like this:
You can see the difference in color which is due primarily to the difference between orange blossom and wildflower honey. The wildflower is in the front in the picture above. These syrups have tons of uses but here are my two favorites:
The Peppered Bourbon – I’ve used variations of this drink on many occasions, but I like the way the peppered honey mingles with the oak and citrus. It’s lightly spiced, with a nice peppery finish.
1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
0.75 oz. Peppered Honey Syrup
0.50 Lemon Juice
Orange Blossom Margarita This makes a seriously delicious margarita. I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a margarita, but you need to trust me here. The orange blossom honey syrup replaces the need for any triple sec and lends the cocktail a very subtle sweetness and an understated orange accent.
1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
1.25 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orange Blossom Honey Syrup