The bee's knees - honey based cocktails for Valentine's Day

Why not add a sweet note to Valentine's Day with Harry's Honey?

Honey Bee Cocktail - made withRum, Orange and Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup
Honey Bee - Rum, Orange and Lemon Juice, Honey

Confession - I am a cocktail fan. I love their colours, flavours and never-ending inventiveness. But it was only recently that I discovered the "wow" that honey can bring to even the most tried and trusted combinations. Give these cocktails a shot - with relatively few ingredients and some simple bits of kit, have fun creating and sharing . . . . . . .

Honey Bee - Tart citrus flavours blend with the warmth of rum and sweet honey to make a subtlety fruity cocktail. Most versions leave out the orange juice but this small addition makes a real flavour difference. I have used "measures" as a way to get the proportions right - all you have to do is scale up this recipe "for one" depending on how many drinks you want to make.


Ingredients:

2 measures aged (dark) rum - I used Mount Gay here

1/2 measure lemon juice - freshly squeezed

1/2 measure honey syrup - make this by mixing 3 parts of Harry's Honey to 1 part water, keep mixing until the honey is completely dissolved before you add the syrup to the other cocktail ingredients

1/4 measure orange juice - any good, not from concentrate, juice will work well but freshly squeezed is best if you have the time.


Shake all of the ingredients with ice and fine filter into a chilled glass. Filtering removes any pulpy bits that might separate out and spoil the look of the drink. I used a plain old nylon sieve. TBH, though, this is probably a detail too far for all but a dedicated cocktail fan - especially as the drink is unlikely to last too long.


Serve in a coupe glass/champagne saucer if you have one, and garnish with a twist of lemon zest.

Most cocktails that use syrup can be made with honey. Rather than just sweetness, honey adds another dimension to the spiciness of rum, bourbon and whisky. It also pairs really well with rich berry flavours.

The Honey Bee contains about 2.4 units of alcohol in its100ml, so as with most cocktails, it packs a sneaky punch. With light rum (such as Bacardi) it becomes a Honeysuckle or you can make it into a Bee's Knees by replacing the rum with gin.

Hey, Honey Cocktail  - made with Bourbon, Honey, Lemon Juice and Angostura Bitters
Hey, Honey - Bourbon, Honey, Lemon Juice, Angostura Bitters

Hey, Honey - For me the smokiness of whisky/bourbon can sometimes be overpowering but in this modified version of a whisky sour, bourbon's power is mellowed by honey and counterbalanced by the bitterness of lemon and Angostura. It's a surprisingly delicate and complex flavour.


Ingredients:

2 measures bourbon - I used Makers Mark

1 and 1/2 measures honey syrup - the syrup here is 1 part Harry's Honey to 1 part water - again, fully mix the honey with the water before adding the syrup itself to the other components

1/2 measure lemon juice - freshly squeezed

5 drops Angostura Bitters


Shake all of the ingredients together with ice. Strain the cocktail. This is just to remove the ice cubes so, if you have it, you can use a Hawthorne strainer with your shaker. If you don't have the kit, no worries, just pour the drink through a sieve. Pour over ice in a rocks glass - a short and wide glass with a sturdy base. You can garnish with lemon but I don't think it really needs it. Again, this will have in the region of 2.4 units of alcohol.


Honey Cobbler Cocktail - made with Whisky, Red Wine, Honey, Cassis
Honey Cobbler - Whisky, Red Wine, Honey, Cassis

Honey Cobbler - If you prefer a sweeter drink then this is for you. Here floral honey partners with fruity but acidic wine and the lush berry blackcurrant of cassis - making the most of whisky's vanilla flavours.


Ingredients:

2 spoons of Harry's Honey

1 and 1/2 measures whisky - I used Jameson Irish whisky (a blend) because that's what I had to hand but Scotch whisky would be just as good

1 measure red wine - anything full-bodied

1/4 measure cassis - I used a cassis made in Herefordshire by White Heron Drinks


Stir the honey with the whisky in the base of the shaker until the honey has dissolved. Add the wine and cassis plus some ice. Shake and then strain the drink into an ice-filled glass. As before you can use a sieve if you don't have a Hawthorne strainer. This is another cocktail with about 2.4 units of alcohol.


Cobblers are traditionally served in a goblet glass with lots of finely crushed ice. But who has an ice crusher? Well, I do but I'm thinking most people don't. In the spirit of "why not try this at home" I've taken a different approach to this lovely drink (my personal favourite) - which I think looks a little more "Valentine's Day" too. So, pour the cocktail over some ice cubes in a champagne saucer and garnish with broken raspberries. And, if you think buying a bottle of cassis might be a bit much, remember cassis pairs with champagne (or any other fizz of course) to make Kir Royale. Another sure-fire Valentine's Day winner, serve it in a champagne flute if you have one.


Honey, you really are the bee's knees. Enjoy!