The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2015 on Honey "When creating the Bee Sting, I was inspired by the flavors of a luau," explains Andrew Pollard. "The balance of sweet to spice is the perfect 'sting' to keep you coming back for each sip!" From its megawatt lights to stunning 12 course meals, one thing's certain when it comes to Vegas: More is always more. With that in mind and ever on the quest for ways to imbue more flavor and excitement into cocktails, Andrew Pollard, Beverage Development Specialist at Wirtz Beverage Nevada turns to a not-so-secret ingredi- ent: honey. "Honey offers such depth and complexity in comparison to other sweetening agents," explains Pollard. "I use the analogy of making a soup with a base stock: Would you prefer to use hot water and salt, which would be similar to simple syrup, or a rich, complex, spicy broth made from a variety of ingredients, like honey or infused honey?" With a flavorful base at the center of his work with accounts developing cocktail menus, Pollard is teaching the Vegas community new ways to think about honey. "My message when utilizing honey in cocktails and training is to consider honey as a sweetener, not something to create a 'honey cocktail' per se," says Pollard. "I feel we haven't even scratched the surface of the potential honey has in being further integrated into large-scale beverage programs," he continues. "I envision we will see honey and different honey varietals becoming a champion ingredient on every cocktail menu, across spirit categories, drink styles and flavor profiles." With so much diversity of flavor to choose from, Pollard leverages different honey varietals for menu development with seasonality in mind. "For fall/winter, I look to a Buckwheat honey or honey infused with warm baking spices and seasonal herbs that complement darker, richer and more robust spirits and flavors. Spring/summer will focus more on bright citrus and floral notes from Clover and Orange Blossom to complement lighter botanicals in a gin, or soften and contrast some of the earthy, vegetal, grassy character of other spirits." Honey continues to gain traction as a trending beverage ingredient. In fact, the latest Technomic MenuMonitor data shows a 29% increase in honey mentions on beverage menus through Q3 2014 and a 60% increase within the specialty-drinks category. Throughout 2015, THE TASTING PANEL looks at honey's impact on the beverage industry, one tastemaker at a time. by Rachel Burkons / photos by Mona Shield Payne Bee Sting 1½ oz. reposado tequila ½ oz. orange peel- infused mezcal 1 oz. fresh lime juice 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice 1 oz. honey-habanero syrup Garnish with a pineap- ple ear, lime wheel and dried tropical fruit skewer. Swe et Andrew Pollard, Honey for Flavor and Seasonality with Beverage Development Specialist, Wirtz Beverage, Nevada

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