Support your local beekeeper.
The cooler air and shorter days of Fall put us at Read Wall in mind of subtler, more muted colors: greens, browns, burgundies, earthy printed ties and rich brown oxfords. The season also has an effect on my palate. I have a taste for something a little deeper, fuller, more contemplative than the wild, punchy cocktails of sun-drenched Summertime. Whiskey features heavily, and aged rums. I drink more wine and beer than at any other time of year, for the beauty of their colors, the ease of their preparation, and their association with a bountiful harvest.
This year I have been heavily in mind of honey.
I love honey — always have. It is my endeavor over the next few weeks to work it into some cocktails and, in so doing, illuminate the way I go about finding and creating new cocktails. I have some ideas, of course, so let’s see what we can create and maybe learn some things in the process. First things first: Go to your farmer’s market this weekend and find some honey. It should be a little cloudier than what you find at the grocery and light to medium in color. Taste it before you buy — it should be noticeably different than the honey bears from Safeway. Find one that makes you happy.
For drinks we will be using honey syrup because it is easier to mix with cold ingredients. Simply take one part each honey and filtered or bottled water (by weight), and combine them over low heat in a saucepan. I keep mine in a squeeze bottle next to my simple syrup in the fridge. Old wine or liquor bottles work well, too — anything that pours decently. Start playing with it on your own — in coffee or whiskey sodas, whatever. Next week we’ll get down to it with a classic called the Bee's Knees: gin, honey, and lemon juice.
If you’re feeling ambitious (and thirsty), experiment with those three ingredients until you have a passable cocktail. We’ll compare notes next week.