A spicy version of the Bee’s Knees, a prohibition era Gin cocktail of honey and lemon – this one’s got a kick of heat from cayenne.
Gin is one of those liquors that is polarizing among a crowd. You either love it or you despise it and these viewpoints are usually held with strong bias and opinions to back them up. Well, gin, my friends was made to be mixed. It’s not a libation you sit and sip neat like whiskey or bourbon, but rather one that is used to craft ingenious cocktails like this one made of honey syrup and lemon juice. Considering the original use of gin was medicinal, mixing it with honey and lemon isn’t too far off and is some medicine I can get behind. This drink will definitely make whatever ails you float away.
However, the era of “bathtub gin” during the prohibition is when crafting cocktails became a necessity because very few could tolerate the potent taste of this bootleggers version. Bartenders in speakeasies blended ounces of it with various mixers to hide the flavor of the poorly made alcohol. Certainly mixed drinks and cocktails existed before this time, but this is when the ingenuity and art of mixology was born. And aren’t we eternally grateful?
Now we are seeing a resurgence in this idea of craft alcohol with the advent of local distillers, except these aren’t the bathtub gins of a bygone era that no one had a stomach to drink. No, these are lovingly crafted by local purveyors to truly bring out the essence and flavor of the spirits. Locally, in Knoxville, we are having a real craft beer moment with several new breweries slated to open this year, BUT I’ve noted even more recently a revival of the craft liquor scene. Knox Whiskey Works is a local small batch distillery whose mission is to create authentic, distinct and delicious hand-crafted spirits from locally sourced products. They work with local farmers and artisans to create unique spirits representative of East Tennessee.
Knox Whiskey Works is Knoxville’s first distillery. Established in 2015, they currently craft Old City Heirloom Corn Whiskey, Jackson Ave Gin, barrel-aged Marble City Pink Gin, Cold City Old Brew Coffee Liqueur, Fleur de Vie Liqueur, and Tennessee Tailgate Orange Vodka. My husband gave me a bottle of their Marble City Pink Gin for Christmas and I thought this drink was the perfect opportunity to use it. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for new craft distilleries opening up in our scruffy, little city and one that I am anticipating is Post Modern Spirits slated to open in a few weeks.
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey simple syrup
- 2 oz Knox Whiskey Works Marble City Gin
- pinch cayenne
- lemon peel
To make the honey simple syrup, combine equal parts honey and water over medium heat and simmer until combined.
Add first three ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Sprinkle with pinch of cayenne and garnish with a lemon twist.