The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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Page 30 of 140

on Honey A s a consultant who works with a variety of bar and restaurant clients, Michael "Bumby" Bombard knows that there's no magic elixir when it comes to crafting a cocktail program. But there is one ingredient brimming with a range of flavor and applica- tions that Bumby thinks deserves a spot on any and every menu: Honey. "This is just the begin- ning for honey," comments Bumby. "I think honey will be the next big wave in flavors. It's not just a simple sweet thing you put on a waffle—it has so much depth of flavor and applications in both front and back of house that really ensures honey's spot on menus." Bumby points to East Coast Wings & Grill, a 40-location chain restaurant that's rolling honey out in a big way: "As soon as I approached them about adding some honey cocktails to their list, I found out that they were already using honey in the kitchen, in both a house-made honey mustard and honey BBQ sauce. I walked them through a tasting, explaining how different honey varietals can be, and they actually decided to make an across-the-board switch to Orange Blossom honey for front and back of house." This sort of synergy and understanding of honey is what Bumby strives to introduce all of his clients to: "Sometimes it takes a little salesmanship to sell a client on something new," he says, "but with honey, it is something people can relate to, once they understand how nuanced all of the flavors and varietals are. It's taken about a year to commit to this placement," he continues, "but as we move forward, we can start showing accounts what they can really do with honey. Now, every single time we do drink development, I want at least one honey cocktail in the line-up." In addition to honey varietals offering depth of flavor and front-to-back-of- house "cross-pollination," Bumby notes seasonality as another honey high point. "Limited-time-offer seasonal drinks are a great fit for honey," says Bumby. "You could easily add two, three, or even five honey drinks per season to keep things fresh and relevant." Michael "Bumby" Bombard, who has fallen for Buckwheat honey, puts honey on the bar menu at East Coast Wings in Orlando, FL. Honey continues to be at the sweet spot of adult beverage trends, inspiring mixologists with its versatility and diverse flavor profiles. The proof is on the menu. Datassential MenuTrends data reveals a 24 percent increase in honey cocktail menu penetration from 2013 to 2014, and a whopping 685 percent increase between 2005 and 2014. The Sweet on Honey series looks at honey's impact on the industry, one tastemaker at a time. Bourbon Bee-Folk Lemonade 1½ oz. bourbon ¾ oz. apricot brandy ½ oz. Orange Blossom honey 2½ oz. lemonade Add ingredients to tin without ice. Shake and pour into iced glass. Swe et Michael "Bumby" Bombard, Bringing Honey from Kitchen to Bar . . . Partner, Straight Up Solutions 30  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2015 by Rachel Burkons / photos by Brian Adams

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