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Properly Sauced: The Bee's Knees

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 14, 2008 7:15PM

Sometimes, you find excellent cocktails where you least expect them. On a visit to Green Zebra, Shawn McLain’s West Town vegetarian joint, we expected to find great food in a Zen-like, meat-free (or almost meat-free) environment. Less anticipated were the expertly designed and crafted cocktails. Their cocktail list is not extensive, but everything on it is good – and believe us, we tried EVERYTHING. Our favorite libation of the evening was the Bee's Knees, a gin cocktail made with lavender honey. Combine our growing affinity for gin-based cocktails and our love of herbal flavors and we’re easily sold. Best of all, unlike some restaurant cocktails, this one is also fairly easy to try at home.

We’re in the midst of a love affair with North Shore Gin, so we were especially happy to see this local, Chicago product on the menu. If you order this at Green Zebra, be careful – it’s got a kick. Moreover, the light vegetarian fare left us … more susceptible to inebriation than we’d planned. Enjoy yourself – but take a cab home.Bees1.jpg

Bee's Knees

Adapted from Green Zebra

2 oz. North Shore Gin #6
1 oz. lavender infused honey syrup (see below)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup

Lavender infused honey syrup: You have a few options for this ingredient. For simplicity, we substituted a tablespoon of lavender honey we had in our pantry. We tried it again with Monin Lavender syrup mixed with honey in equal parts, and got a much stronger herbal flavor. If you’re feeling really ambitious, heat up some honey in a saucepan with some lavender buds. If all else fails – just use honey. It’s still good.

Mix all ingredients into a chilled martini shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously (especially so if you’re using raw honey). Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.