An herby twist on a summer favorite – Lavender Bees Knees

I have the good fortune to regularly see bees hard at work from spring to fall. (It helps to have a best friend that’s a beekeeper.)

The magic of these wondrous little creatures blows my mind every time I learn a fun new fact about them.

Did you know bees don’t have anything equivalent to knees?

Some more things to know about bees

  • Worker bees are all female and the only ones with stingers.
  • She lives just five to six weeks and produces about a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in that time.
  • Queen bees live up to five years and lay about 2,000 eggs per DAY during the summer.
  • If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva and feeding it royal jelly. This will turn it into a fertile queen.

If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.

Honey bees are essential to growing almost all the food we eat.

Sadly, colonies of bees have been disappearing over the last 15 years. Colony collapse disorder is responsible for the loss of billions of bees. Pesticides and stress from poor management practices such as transportation to multiple locations are suspected causes.

What can you do?

As a responsible human and drinker, there are things you can do to make a difference. Start by buying local honey from a responsible bee keeper that sells honey from their bees. These people are passionate about the care of their bees and put a lot of time and money into doing it right. It may cost a few dollars more than the little bear from the grocery store, but what goes into them are not the same. Those poor management practices we talked about? That’s what Big Honey is churning out at a fraction of what your local beekeeper needs to charge just to cover their costs.

Use as little pesticides in your yard or property as possible. It all adds up. Just because you spray it and never think about it again, doesn’t mean it is gone. Everything has an impact.

Consider replacing some of your lawn with pollinator-friendly plants.

The pristine lawns of suburbia aren’t very good for the environment or honey bees. Some of the “weeds” we eradicate like clover are a bee’s first food source in the spring. So even if you give up ten percent of your yard to some pollinator-friendly plants they will appreciate it and you will be making a difference. Plus they are prettier than the green carpet everyone else is growing. Be sure to include some lavender!

Time to make the Lavender Bees Knees

Now that we have some lovely local honey that was the life’s work of thousands of bees, let’s make this “herby” twist on a summer favorite.

Cocktail in a coupe glass with a sprig of lavender

If you are lucky enough to have a blooming lavender plant then you have ingredient number two on our list. If not, don’t worry, you can order a lavender extract from Amazon.

Many other sources go up in cost and probably quality, so do your research if you go this route.

The first step is to make the Lavender Honey Simple Syrup. This will need to cool a little so make it slightly in advance.

Combine a half cup of honey and an equal amount of water in a saucepan. This will give you enough for a couple of rounds and maybe some leftover. You can keep this in the fridge for one to two weeks. (Honey never goes bad but once it is mixed with other ingredients it will spoil like other foods.)

Add to the pan a few sprigs of lavender.

  • If it is the leaf of the plant, without the flower, you will need to use more, about five sprigs to get a solid lavender flavor.
  • If the flower is included, it will be much stronger so three sprigs should do it, especially if it is during ideal peak flowering.
  • If you are using lavender extract, mix the honey and water at this stage.

Gently bring the honey, water, and lavender to just a boil so the honey dissolves. Remove from heat and let the lavender steep as the mixture cools. If you are using lavender extract add it now.

Once the syrup is cool, get a shaker and fill halfway with ice. Remove the lavender sprigs from the syrup and discard.

  • 1 and 1/2 oz of lemon juice
  • 1 oz of the Lavender Honey Simple Syrup
  • Add 1 and 1/2 oz of your favorite, good-quality gin.

I like Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin because it is local and has a lot of herby flavors that I like in a gin. Give it a good shake and pour it into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lavender flower.

Raise your glass to those hard-working ladies of the hive and enjoy.

Coupe glass with a cocktail on a table in front of bee hives

Cheers image

Lavender Bees Knees

Recipe by Hello Five o'clockDifficulty: Easy
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Total time

5

minutes

Lavender and honey – are there any two things that embody summer more than them? I don’t think so. Here I will introduce you to an herby twist on a summer favorite. I call it Lavender Bees Knees.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Lavender Honey Simple Syrup, cooled.

  • 1 and ½ ounces gin

  • 1 and ½ ounces lemon juice

  • ice cubes

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled halfway with ice.
  • Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lavender flower sprig.

Lavender Honey Simple Syrup

Recipe by Hello Five o'clockDifficulty: Medium
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Yields

3/4

cup
Total time

45

minutes

This is a base for one of many different flavored cocktails. Specifically, the Lavender Bees Knees.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup honey

  • ½ cup water

  • 3 sprigs of lavender with flower, or 5 if only leaf; or 5 drops of lavender extract.

Directions

  • In a small saucepan combine honey, water, and lavender sprigs. If using extract, combine only honey and water.
  • Bring to just a boil so honey can dissolve. Remove from heat. If using extract add now.
  • Allow cooling while the lavender steeps.
  • Remove lavender sprigs if using.

Notes

  • Refrigerate in a closed jar for 1-2 weeks.

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