The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2015

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Page 36 of 116

Honey How-To with . . . on Honey Bridget Albert Regional Director of Southern Wine and Spirits IL, KY & MN "I love Alfalfa and Buckwheat honeys. If you want to make your gin cocktail velvety and sexy, take out whatever sweet- ener you're using and put in Alfalfa honey! Buckwheat is dark and amazingly complex—it jumps out of the glass with cognac or whiskey cocktails." Talking to Bridget Albert in her basement home bar, her enthusiasm for honey is palpable. "I'm having a great love affair at the moment with honey," explains the author, spirit educator and Regional Director of Southern Wine and Spirits IL, KY & MN. But Albert's relationship with honey wasn't always this sweet. "I was short- minded about honey before [last year's] Honey Beverage Summit," admits Albert. "It's been really exciting to learn about the range of honey colors, taste profiles and textures. There are so many different types of honey avail- able." (For a great resource, visit the National Honey Board's online Honey Locator tool at "It was so exciting to learn the way different honeys pair with specific spirits," continues Albert. "That's been a game changer for me as an author and educator, but also in terms of the knowledge I'm able to expose my accounts to." To point people in the right direction, Albert says a honey education is within reach: "Go to the grocery store, do some tastings and start exploring," she advises. "Know that Orange Blossom honey comes from an orange blossom—it's going to be citrusy and give your cocktail a citrus kick right off the bat. Alfalfa is a lighter color and is a bit mild, but has this cool funk to it because of the purple blossoms the bees source the nectar from." These nuances, says Albert, make honey an ideal sweetening agent in cocktails. "Sugar just can't add the complexity that honey can. Honey is not one note; it's a song. Understanding how each honey changes when mixed with a specific spirit will give your cocktail a better life." As if we weren't convinced that Albert really, really loves honey, she had one more note to add: "The honey bee is a fascinating critter, and man, does it work hard to put that honey in the jar. Respect the process of this creature and what it does for us —it truly is nature's magic!" Throughout 2015, THE TASTING PANEL will take a look at how honey is shaping the beverage industry in the wake of last year's Honey Beverage Summit. Each month we'll profile the tastemakers who are turning to this natural sweetener to brighten up cocktails and round-out beverage programs across the country, so stay tuned for more! by Rachel Burkons / photos by Rebecca Peplinski 4 small red grapefruit wedges (peel removed) 1 oz. honey-rosemary syrup 2 oz. rye whiskey 1 rosemary sprig In a rocks glass, muddle grapefruit and honey rose- mary syrup (1 cup honey, ½ cup water, 4 rosemary sprigs) until well- combined. Add whiskey and top with crushed ice. Stir with a barspoon and gar- nish with rosemary sprig. Swe et Red Grapefruit Brown Derby Reprinted with permission from Bridget Albert's Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season (2nd edition, Agate Publishing)

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