The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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on Honey It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Charlotte Voisey and her illustrious career that when we asked her about honey, she found a way to relate it to one of her favorite topics: gin. "Honey kind of reminds me of gin ten years ago," she begins. "Everybody thought there was just one kind of gin, that they all tasted the same and that gin was gin. But now," she explains, "there are hundreds of varieties and styles of gin, and people are aware of that. I had that same moment of realization with honey. They can be wildly different; some are mild and floral, while others are big and boisterous and funky —and everything in between." Voisey saw the honey-hued light at the National Honey Board's 2014 Honey Beverage Summit, where participants tasted five different honey varietals across 23 spirits— an eye-opening exercise she's since replicated with her Brand Ambassador teams to help them further disseminate that honey knowledge to the trade. "I'm seeing people begin to experiment a little more with honey now," she says. "It used to just be honey. Now people are asking about local and regional honeys, introducing more specificity into their understanding of honey." Moreover, Voisey points out that calling out specific types of honeys on cocktail menus has an impact on the customer interaction: "Being specific allows people to understand that there's been some thought behind the ingredient selection. It will inspire them to ask questions, say, 'What's Alfalfa honey? I've never heard of that before.' It initiates a conversation, and in this day and age, people are expecting more and more attention to detail. You wouldn't write a cocktail menu and just say 'gin,' and I love that people are approaching honey the same way now." With a newfound passion for honey meeting her longtime love, gin, Voisey was quick to find a way to bring these two together once more. "My favorite honey varietal has been Alfalfa, because it is so different and surprising—and it goes really well with most gins. I assumed that every honey would go with gin, but different honeys go well with different styles of gin, bringing out whole new flavor profiles." 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 adult 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. Bees Knees Variation 2 oz. tequila 3/4 oz. Alfafa honey syrup 3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice 3/4 oz. freshly pressed pineapple juice 4 loose leaves basil Combine ingredients and shake well. Double strain into a cocktail glass and finish with a lemon twist Swe et Charlotte Voisey, Upping the Cocktail Ante with Honey: Portfolio Ambassador, William Grant & Sons 34  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2015 by Rachel Burkons / photos by Tim Murray

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