‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With lavender sprigs and leaves of sage, and working bees in full flow’
OK, I know this isn’t exactly how we all remember the childhood classic, but considering the beautiful, floral profile of this month’s gin, along with our Cocktail Of The Month, I dare ask forgiveness for taking artistic liberties.
This month, we are bringing you a wonderful twist on the classic ‘The Bees Knees’ cocktail. Etymologically speaking, the drink itself is suitably named. Deriving from prohibition-era slang for ‘the best’, The Bees Knees is a gin fuelled concoction which has withstood the test of time, evolving into a popular classic which is now known worldwide.
The drink itself came about as a result of prohibition. It was during this time that there was an upsurge in the unlawful production and distribution of what has now come to be known as ‘bathtub gin’: a harsh spirit created illegally by anyone whom wanted to cash in on the public’s insatiable desire for alcohol - during a period when alcohol was no longer readily available. As spirit production was no longer regulated and could be created by anyone with a bathtub and a basement, it inevitably led to the degradation of good quality spirits. With the quality of spirits decreasing and the public’s thirst for gin rising, it was no surprise then that the addition of citrus and sugar (or in this case, honey) entered the equation to help soften the abrasive nature of this cheap alcohol; it helped make things a touch more palatable. In the case of the ‘Bees Knees’, it really did create a ‘buzz’ among drink enthusiasts (Apologies, I couldn’t resist!).
The team here at One Time Gin have thankfully steered clear from the bathtub this month and have teamed up with the professionals at Northstar Distillery to bring you ‘Merywen Gin’. With their expertise and keen eye for quality, we have managed to produce a gin like no other and a unique base spirit for this month’s cocktail – ‘Buzz About Town’. In Addition to Merywen Gin, we will be giving you a small bottle of lavender liqueur which compliments brilliantly Merywen’s floral and herbaceous notes. To remain faithful to the original ‘Bees Knees’, we have kept fresh lemon juice as part of the recipe – in-keeping with those up-lifting citrus notes, and added honey syrup to bring a different dimension of sweetness that just doesn’t come from plain sugar syrup. There are some versions of the Bees Knees which also include a splash of orange juice. Despite this being a tasty rendition & being a fantastic source for vitamin C we have omitted it here to allow the both the lavender and the gin to take centre stage!
If you do fancy being described as ‘The Bees Knees’, turning your home into a ‘hive’ for social activity or just want to ‘bee’ a resident mixologist for the day (Sorry, I’ll show myself out!), just follow the recipe and methods below to create this fantastic and refreshing Spring-time libation.
Buzz About Town
45ml Merywin Gin
15ml Lavender Liqueur
25ml Honey Syrup *
25ml Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish: Lemon Peel / Lavender Sprig
Method: Add all the ingredients to a shaker. Add Ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Double strain all ingredients into a cocktail glass (either a 5oz Coupe or a Martini glass will do!). Garnish with either fresh lemon peel or a fresh sprig of lavender.
Method: To a jug add equal parts honey and boiling water. Give a quick stir to ensure that the honey has fully dissolved. Set aside and leave to cool. Once cooled, the syrup is ready to use and can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Written By Proinseas Cosgrove