Texas Honey & Cocktails: a Match Made in Heaven
April 21, 2022
Looking to sweeten up your favorite cocktail? Sugar isn’t the only answer. In fact, it often isn’t the best answer, especially when you have access to some local Texas honey. We’re lucky that the Lone Star State is home to a huge array of honey producers and beekeepers. This natural sweetener can be found at farmers’ markets, local farms, and shops, making it the perfect addition to your evening cocktail.
But before you go and get a dollop of regular store-bought honey, it’s important to get familiar with the different kinds of honey out there. Many small businesses offer a huge variety of honey flavors, such as lavender, clover, orange blossom, blueberry, and even coffee. Choosing the right honey to complement the flavor profile of your cocktail is an art, and one we want to help you get right.
Get to know your honey
The kind of honey you use for your booze is essential. Why? Well, this liquid gold isn’t just a sweetener – it can also add beautiful flavors to your drink, depending on what type you choose. There are dark kinds of honey, which have a stronger and more poignant flavor profile, and are perfect for drinks boasting a rich taste. And then you have lighter honies that are more neutral in their sweetness – ideal for citrusy cocktails. Here are a few of our favorite honey varieties for you to add to your next boozy concoction.
Buckwheat honey is dark in color and packed with flavor! Expect this honey type to taste like dark molasses, with particular varieties featuring notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Best used in rich cocktails, buckwheat honey mixes beautifully with other ingredients, working particularly well with ginger and cinnamon flavors. Making a drink with Texas bourbon whiskey, rum, or scotch? Buckwheat honey is the perfect way to sweeten your tipple.
Blueberry honey is the sweet-tasting result of bees living in close proximity to blueberry bushes. Commonly found in Michigan and New England, this kind of honey is perfect for fruity cocktails. It can also be used to add a light berry flavor to your drink – it’s simply divine in a gin cocktail. I once added it to my red currant vodka and sparkling water mix, and it just hit the spot!
Clover honey is a brilliant sweetener for a wide variety of cocktails. Consider yourself to be a bit of an adventurous amateur mixologist? Then pick up some of this honey – it goes with pretty much everything. You can often find this type at bars and restaurants, as it’s mildly floral in flavor and light in color. This makes it a go-to for any recipe that calls for honey but doesn’t specify which kind.
Orange blossom honey
Despite it being called orange blossom honey, this honey variety can be made from all kinds of citrus plants, including grapefruit, lemon, and orange plants. Expect a smooth, sweet syrup that shines with a gorgeously mild and citrusy flavor. Cocktails using light-colored spirits such as vodka or gin are best paired with orange blossom honey.
Used as a natural sweetener, alfalfa honey is another staple in many restaurants and bars. Similar to clover honey, it has a light taste but leans toward a sweeter flavor. This kind of honey goes wonderfully with fruity drinks featuring light spirits, giving cocktails a more neutral sweetness and thus allowing other flavors to shine through.
How to make honey your cocktail’s best friend
Before you start pouring honey straight into that mixing glass of yours, listen up. You need to make sure that it’s going to dissolve properly in your drink – honey fresh out of the jar is far too thick to mix well in ice-cold drinks. So, it’s important to create a syrup before you go mixing honey with any booze. Honey and water in a one-to-one ratio makes for the perfect sweetener. Here’s a quick honey syrup recipe that couldn’t be more simple.
Recipe: the perfect honey syrup
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of your preferred honey
Add your honey and water to a saucepan and place it over low heat. Keep a close eye on the simmering mixture and wait for the honey to completely dissolve. Once the water and honey are evenly mixed together, remove the saucepan from the heat. Let it cool for a minute or two and then transfer the mixture to a small container. You can keep this mixture in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Delicious honey cocktails
Now that you’ve cooked up your honey syrup, it’s time to get your booze on. All you need are some measuring cups, a cocktail shaker, a pinch of curiosity, and – of course – your favorite alcohol. Here are some honey cocktail recipes for you to try out.
The Bee’s Knees
This simple yet seemingly timeless drink is reminiscent of warm summer nights with family and friends. An uncomplicated mix of fruity gin, clover honey syrup, and lemon juice, the Bee’s Knees is a clean and refreshing tipple. Here’s how to make this Prohibition-era cocktail!
- ½ ounce of clover honey syrup
- 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces of gin
- Lemon twist to be used for garnish
Grab your lemon and use a vegetable peeler to cut off about a thumb’s length or two of lemon peel. This will be used to garnish your drink at the end.
Then slice up your lemon and get as much juice out of it as you can. Get a cocktail shaker and fill it with large ice cubes. Then pour in your gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice. Close the shaker and shake for about 30 seconds or until the drink is evenly chilled.
Pour the boozy mixture through a cocktail strainer into a glass. Gently twist the lemon peel and use it to decorate your new drink!
There’s nothing quite like a hot summer’s day in Texas spent enjoying an ice-cold mojito out on your patio. If only it was warm enough to do so right now! Mojitos are typically made with white sugar or sugar syrup, but there’s nothing stopping you from using honey syrup instead.
- 7–8 mint leaves
- 6 lime wedges
- 2 tbsps of alfalfa/clover honey syrup
- 1 ½ ounces of white rum
- ½ cup of club soda
- Large cocktail glass
To start off, you’re going to need to grab a cocktail glass and a muddler (or, if you don’t have one to hand, a spoon). Throw your mint leaves, lime wedges (leave one wedge for garnish), and honey syrup into the glass. Slowly muddle the ingredients in the bottom of the glass – you’ll know when you’re done crushing them once you can smell the fresh aroma of citrus and mint.
Fill the glass with ice and pour in your white rum. Top up the rest of the glass with club soda, stir, and add the honey syrup to taste. As a final touch, garnish the drink with the remaining wedge of lime.
Honey Lime Margaritas
Of course, we were never going to leave the beloved margarita off this list. Usually made with agave or sugar syrup, this tipple also works brilliantly with honey added to the mix. Using orange blossom honey gives this renowned Mexican drink an added citrus kick, complementing the zingy flavors of the lime juice and tequila.
- ½ cup of blanco or silver tequila
- 4 tbsps of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tbsps of orange blossom honey syrup
- 2 wedges of lime
- 1 tsp of kosher salt
Get a lime wedge and rub it along the rim of your margarita glass. On a plate or small saucer, add some kosher salt and spread it out evenly. Dip the rim of the glass in the salt, before filling the glass with ice.
In a cocktail shaker, combine your tequila, lime juice, honey syrup, and ice. Close the lid securely and shake until most of the ice has melted into the mixture and the honey syrup has been evenly combined.
Pour the mixture into your prepared glass, and add a dash more honey syrup if desired. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
These recipes are a great way to get to grips with adding honey to cocktails – but they’re only a starting point! When it comes to making boozy mixes, experimentation is key. Channel your inner mixologist and start creating some cocktails to enjoy in the upcoming summer heat.
Before you grab any old honey from the grocery store, think twice. Get your buzz on with some high-quality and great-tasting honey sourced directly from local Texas beekeepers. Honey and alcohol are a match made in heaven, so get creative and knock up some delicious honey-based concoctions for your loved ones!