I hadn’t mixed a drink since we returned home from Hole in the Wall Gang Camp almost two weeks ago. I was just a bit too tired to get cocktail creative, I guess. But a few nights ago the evening seemed to be calling for a drink.
I had a new bottle of Old Tom gin made in New York, Queen’s Courage that I’d been wanting to try. If you are unfamiliar with Old Tom gin, it is considered to be the “missing link” between a London Dry gin and a Dutch Jenever. And it is a variety that had all but disappeared. However, currently it is in the midst of a bit of a renaissance thanks to the craft cocktail movement.
As I thought about what to mix, the honey notes in the Queen’s Courage made me think of a delightful prohibition-era drink: The Bee’s Knees.
The Bee’s Knees consists of gin (yum), honey (yum), and lemon (yum!). The general consensus is that the honey and lemon were added to mask the smell of liquor…and the questionable taste of the bathtub gin! Here is a classic recipe on One Martini which looks something like: Take 2 ounces gin, ¾ ounce honey syrup and ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice, shake with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass.
It happened that I had some violet simple syrup on hand, so I decided to substitute that for the honey syrup, figuring that a flower-based simple syrup, plus the honey notes in the Queens Courage would pay a nice homage to the original drink.
The Violet Bee’s Knees Recipe:
1. Combine 2 ounces gin, ¾ ounce violet simple syrup and ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice in a martini shaker filled with ice
3. Strain into a chilled martini glass
The next afternoon I had a visit from my cousin Dani who was in town for a limited time. Weeks ago she he had requested that I mix her a special cocktail upon her next visit…so I was really excited to play bartender for her. Then my mom caught on to the fact that there would be cocktails, so she joined in as well.
With the taste of the previous night’s drink still clear in my mind, I thought I’d make a fun variation on that theme for her…adding a fun egg white foam, which is always a crowd-pleaser, and another nod at the bees, with a bee pollen garnish.
I used dried egg whites for the first time and got a nice enough foam, but I’m going to have to experiment a bit more with amounts and temperatures to yield the best foam with the dried stuff. (So…if anyone wants to swing by and demand a cocktail with egg white foam, you’d be doing me a favor…)
Fuzzy Bee’s Knees Recipe:
1. Mix 2 teaspoons egg white powder with two tablespoons water
2. Combine 2 ounces gin, egg white mixture, ¾ ounce violet simple syrup and ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice (all at room temperature) in a martini shaker and dry shake (no ice) until you feel the texture change in the shaker
3. Add ice and shake again until the shaker feels adequately chilled.
4. Strain into a coupe…be patient, the foam will come out slowly.
5. Garnish with bee pollen
I wasn’t drinking, so it was nice to have two taste-testers to give their opinions on this one. The general consensus is that this drink is best served for day-drinking on a sunny patio with people you love. And, another round, please, but with less bee pollen this time.