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Gilded Bee Cocktail #1

What makes a cocktail?  This was the topic of conversation on a recent night out.  We addressed the barman -surely an authority on these things.  He declared his favourite to be a Jagerbomb so his opinion was quickly disregarded.  Google was no use, of course the internet will tell you anything you want to hear, describing anything from the general “an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients” to  the more specific “A cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.”

I’ve always held that a cocktail needs to be three or more ingredients, with just two being a mixed drink.  Just because something has a name -say a Screwdriver consisting of vodka and orange, a cocktail it does not make (according to me).

That said I don’t think cocktails need to be alcoholic, a Virgin Mojito or Mary can be a very lovely thing.  Nor do they need to be fancy.  The horror of a Club Tropicana style confection with coloured layers and all manner of paraphernalia. Bleugh.  Give me an Old Fashioned any day. Ostensibly this only has one ingredient of note -Bourbon (Woodford Reserve would be my go-to).  But careful layers are built up.  First muddling a maraschino cherry and strip of orange peel and discarding them to leave only the trace syrup. Then a sugar cube soaked with bitters pounded down to slush ready for the liquor.  Bourbon and ice cubes are then added gradually, all the time being gently stirred to release the aromas and dissolve the sugar.  This process can take several minutes -yes, that’s why the bartender’s shoulders slump when you order four.

It’s really down to personal taste but whatever your favourite these few bits of kit will really help you up your game:

  • A bottle of Bitters - just a bottle of Angostura or Peychaud to start and then add to your collection as the need arises.  These are lovely just dashed into a gin and tonic but will add a lovely complex note to lots of cocktails.  This may seem like a funny item at the top of the list but they’re a game changer in the drinks cabinet and certainly the most used in my house.
  • Jigger or Measure - no, i’m not being the portion police here but the magic of many cocktails is in the balance so keeping the ingredients in the right proportion is pretty important.
  • Barspoon - a bit more specific but aside from the actual spoon being used to measure, the spoon inverted so you are using the flat end to stir a drink will move the ice gently around the liquid cooling but not fracturing as it goes.
  • Cocktail shaker - necessary for certain drinks and just fun to have for others. Helps to create a bit of fun and theatre when you are entertaining.   A traditional looking french shaker looks more glamorous and Boston shaker marks you as a pro.  Both do an excellent job.

Having our own business was the perfect excuse to create our own cocktail (or series of..)  which of course had to include honey.  This can be used in cold drinks by first making a honey syrup by heating half and half honey and water until nearly boiling and completely mixed then allowing to cool and storing in a clean jar or bottle for up to 2 weeks. The Gilded Bee #1 is perfect for this time of year with warming rum and honey, tempered with the sour citrus.  A simple recipe, little more than a variation on a rum sour that is definitely more than the sum of it’s parts.

Gilded Bee #1

Serves two

  • 100ml dark or golden rum (a spicy Sailor Jerry’s works well)
  • 50ml Lemon Juice
  • 50ml Honey syrup
  • Couple of dashes or orange or Angostura bitters

Put some music on.  Add all ingredients to a shaker along with a good handful of ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.  Strain into a tumbler over fresh ice and serve garnished with a strip of lemon zest or some pretty, edible flowers. Dim the lights and enjoy over a few hands of your favourite card game. Cheers!

At Gilded Bee we think gifts that help the recipient to spend time with loved ones are a really good thing.  You can find beautiful pieces of luxe barware in our Entertainer hamper which gives all the kit needed for a great night in.  Perfect to reward a sociable employee or thank a client.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look here for how we can help you create the perfect event or party.

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