The buzz on honey by Angela Thompson

Angela is one of our Beverage Innovation Directors in North America. She explains why honey became a must-have.

It started with a few chefs that had roof top beehives, then carried into the bourbon and whiskey world with Jack Daniels Honey, Jim Beam Honey and Wild Turkey American Honey and don’t forget about Drambuie, one of the first Honey liqueurs.  Now, honey is seen in everything from perfume to cleaning products, skin care and make up. Let’s just call it “Hive to Happy Hour” or “Bee Keeper to Bar” because honey is growing just like “Farm to Table” and “Garden to Glass”. It’s perceived as a good for you, natural sweetener so it’s right on track for growth.

This movement stretches from the East Coast, influences Chicago in the mid-West, and pushes on to the West Coast and beyond.  Just recently I stayed at the Fairmont hotel in New Port Beach California and honey was all over the menu in the hotel restaurant and lounge. Honey was also a fan favorite of the Flavor Conference (Flavor & The Menu) that week in New Port Beach.  MONIN presented two offerings with a honey theme at the conference, the Citrus Lavender Martini and Honey Breeze, which went over very well.

Honey can be used for any season when paired with the right flavor and liquor to create unique cocktails.  In the spring, try infusing the warm sweet taste of honey with lavender and orange for a great floral champagne cocktail - great for brunch, Easter and Mother’s Day. Summer sizzles with a honey pineapple rum punch or a honey glazed BBQ pork for your outdoor gathering. Warm it up a bit in fall with a spiced honey cider, made with bourbon, apple cider, cardamom and honey. Hot cocoa with honey, gingerbread and spiced rum will warm you up on the coldest of winter nights. I am still discovering new ways to incorporate honey into every type of application; it is one of my favorite flavor profiles to play with.

The menu presence of honey is still climbing and continuing to pop up in more and more cocktails.  Honey is so easy to use and a little goes a long way, bringing complexity to beverages in a sophisticated way.  Honey is a great vehicle for introducing florals to mainstream by marrying a small amount of lavender, hibiscus, violet or rose into a well-balanced, easy drinking cocktail or non- alcohol offering.   MONIN Honey syrup is a great product to use in cocktails and iced non-alcohol beverages as it mixes well without needing to dilute first.  If you try adding honey to a cold beverage and shaking it with ice, it usually just sticks to the bottom and sides of the glass, never mixing with the other ingredients.  A small amount of water already blended in with the honey makes it instantly mixable, a huge benefit. 

Honey has the ability to warm and add depth to almost any drink, so consider it as flavoring for your next cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage.

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