Thursday, October 14, 2010

honey bearer

1 1/2 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
1/2 oz Ripe Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After a few hours of online drink chatting on Mixoloseum last Thursday night, Andrea and I walked a few blocks to visit the Paddock restaurant. In the middle of our pizza and beer fest, we decided that our next stop should be a visit to Bergamot. Andrea had enjoyed their drinks before when she ate dinner there a few weeks ago, but our motivation was that we heard (thanks to DrinkBoston) that Paul Manzelli from Craigie on Main had just taken over as bar manager there. As we showed up after the dinner crowd had pretty much left for the night, there were a few available seats at the bar.

When I asked Paul for the Honey Bearer off of the cocktail menu, he commented that it was Kai's drink. Kai, the old wine buyer for Craigie on Main, came by to talk about his drink, and I was impressed at how excited he was about the honey they was currently using in it. The honey he bought from a local producer, Mike Graney in Jamaica Plain, was a special seasonal occurrence. When the weather gets colder, the bees go dormant and in some years this causes the incomplete honey to ferment. Normally, the beating of the bees' wings will drive the moist air out of the hive and this helps to dry out the unfinished and uncapped honeycombs; however, when they go dormant as the weather hits the upper 40's or lower 50's, the water content in the honey is too high and microbes are able to ferment it. The end result is a bubbling, nuttier honey with amplified floral notes.
Bee geekery aside, when I saw the ingredient list, I wondered if it was some sort of spin on the Last Word with the honey subbing in for the Maraschino liqueur. After hearing the ratio, it was closer to how Embury might make a rum Last Word than a pure equal parts one. The rum in the drink was a special blending of Trinidad spirits that Death & Co. devised, and Paul was actually the one who introduced me to it at Craigie. The drink's nose was honey, lime, and rum akin to an Air Mail. Indeed, the late season honey was just as potent of a flavor as Luxardo Maraschino is in the Last Word. While the sip was a little bit on the sweet side especially with the yellow Chartreuse instead of green, it was not overly so. Moreover, the swallow was a cleansing mix of the lime's crispness and the Chartreuse's botanical complexity.

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