National Honey Month: Honey Cocktails and a Honey Syrup Recipe for Your At-Home Bar

As National Honey Month rolls around, you might find that it’s an ideal time to explore the sweet and versatile world of honey cocktails. Whether you’re a fan of mixology or simply someone who enjoys a well-crafted beverage every now and then, incorporating honey can add a natural and sweet twist to your at-home bar experience. Today, we’ll cover several delicious honey cocktails you can mix up in celebration of National Honey Month and provide you with a simple honey syrup recipe to elevate any other cocktails you want to try out. Let’s get started!

What Is Honey?

Honey is a naturally sweet substance produced by bees using nectar from flowers. It’s a staple in culinary and cultural traditions worldwide, appreciated for its distinct flavor, texture, and potential health benefits. Bees collect nectar from flowers, which is then enzymatically transformed and concentrated into honey within their hives.

The composition of honey includes various sugars, primarily glucose and fructose, which give it its sweet taste and make it an energy-rich food source. Its unique taste and aroma come from the specific types of flowers the bees gather nectar from. This gives rise to a wide range of honey varieties, each with its own flavor profile and color, ranging from light amber to dark brown.

Honey has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener, a food ingredient, and even for its potential medicinal properties. Its antimicrobial properties have made it a popular choice for wound care in traditional medicine. However, it’s essential to note that while honey does offer some potential health benefits, consuming it in moderation is advisable due to its sugar content.

What Are the Different Types of Honey?

As mentioned above, there are many different “types” of honey, due to the fact that bees can collect pollen from a variety of different flowers. Some of these types include:

  • Clover Honey: One of the most common and widely available types, clover honey has a mild, sweet flavor. It typically has a light color and a smooth texture, making it a versatile option for various culinary applications.
  • Wildflower Honey: This type of honey is a blend of nectars from various wildflowers and plants. It often has a more robust flavor profile with floral and earthy notes, reflecting the diverse range of flowers visited by bees.
  • Lavender Honey: Collected from the nectar of lavender blossoms, this honey carries the delicate, aromatic essence of lavender. It’s often light in color and has a floral, slightly herbal taste.
  • Orange Blossom Honey: Gathered from the nectar of orange blossom flowers, this honey boasts a citrusy aroma and a light, fruity flavor. Its bright and fresh taste makes it a popular choice for both culinary and beverage applications.
  • Manuka Honey: Originating from New Zealand and Australia, manuka honey comes from the nectar of the manuka tree’s flowers. It’s renowned for its potential health benefits due to its unique antibacterial properties. Manuka honey has a rich, earthy taste with a hint of bitterness.
  • Acacia Honey: Acacia honey is known for its pale color and light, sweet flavor. It’s sourced from the nectar of acacia tree blossoms and is often used as a natural sweetener in various dishes.
  • Buckwheat Honey: With its dark color and robust, malty flavor, buckwheat honey is distinctively different from lighter varieties. It’s often described as having molasses-like undertones and is a popular choice for adding depth to recipes.
  • Eucalyptus Honey: This honey is collected from the nectar of eucalyptus tree flowers, offering a strong, bold flavor with hints of menthol or medicinal notes. As expected, it’s commonly found in regions where eucalyptus trees are prevalent.
  • Sourwood Honey: Native to the southeastern United States, sourwood honey is celebrated for its exceptionally smooth texture and a unique flavor profile that starts sweet and finishes with a subtle, tangy note.
  • Forest Honey: Forest honey is a mixture of nectars from various plants in a specific forested area. It tends to have a complex flavor profile that reflects the diverse flora of the forest environment.

Learn More: 8 Types of Honey (and Where to Get Them)

Honey Spirit Distilleries in the United StatesRandy Mann of Up North Distillery in Post Falls, Idaho pictured with honey spirits and awards for his craft honey spirits.

Photo of Randy Mann, owner of Up North Distillery in Post Falls, Idaho sent to DistilleryNearby.com by Hilary Mann.

  • Up North Distillery in Post Falls, Idaho owner, Hilary Mann shared photos of their honey spirits and the beginning of their honey spirit distilling story with us, “When we started in 2015 there were very few and still are very few distilleries doing 100% honey fermentation. Honey Spirits have become our signature product. We create four different expressions of Honey Spirits: Honey Spirits, Barrel Finished Honey Spirits, Barrel Reserve Honey Spirits and Cask Strength Honey Spirits. We went to the American Distilling Institute conference and met employees of the National Honey Board. They were promoting honey in distilling and put on a Honey Spirits competition as well as a training once a year. It’s a great way to connect with other distillers using honey.”
  • Caledonia Spirits in Montpelier, Vermont makes Bar Hill Vodka and Bar Hill Gin from honey and Tom Cat Gin from honey and juniper.
  • Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison, Wisconsin makes Domeloz Honey Spirit.
  • The Hardware Distillery Company in Hoodsport, Washington makes Bee’s Knees®.
  • Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington Indiana makes Honey Schnapps.
  • Hidden Marsh Distillery located within Montezuma Winery in Seneca Falls, New York makes Bee Vodka.
  • Wigle Whiskey Distillery located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania makes Landlocked Oak honey Spirit.
  • Honey House Distillery located in Durango, Colorado uses honey to make their Honey Bourbon Whiskey, Hex Vodka, Cinnamon Honey Whiskey, and Colorado Honey Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur.
  • Ellicottville Distillery, located in Ellicottville, New York uses local honey to craft their Ellicottville Distillery New York Craft Single Barrel Honey Spirit.

National Honey Month: When Is National Honey Month & How Do I Celebrate?

National Honey Month takes place annually during the month of September. It’s a celebration of the natural sweetness that nature provides. Wondering how you can partake in this sweet observance? Here’s a simple guide to joining the festivities:

  • Consider exploring your local farmers’ markets or specialty stores. Here, you might find an array of honey varieties, each with its own unique flavor notes and characteristics. It’s a chance to embrace the diversity of honey and discover which ones resonate with your taste buds.
  • Bringing honey to your home bar can also be a fun way to celebrate National Honey Month. Craft a honey syrup with our honey syrup recipe below—this simple concoction can be a game-changer in your cocktail creations. From a honey-infused Old Fashioned to honey-kissed Margaritas, the possibilities are as varied as the honey itself.
  • Of course, celebrating National Honey Month goes beyond the culinary realm. Take a moment to learn about the importance of bees in pollination and the ecosystem. Supporting local beekeepers and conservation efforts can make a positive impact on these crucial insects and the environment at large. 
  • Maybe you could also try a new spirit from a sustainable distillery like Far North Spirits, Caledonia Spirits (like their Barr Hill Gin) or Wayward Distillery (Canada).

Adding Honey to Cocktails: Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to incorporating honey into your cocktails, a touch of this natural sweetness can elevate your drink experience to new heights. To ensure your honey-infused concoctions hit the mark, here are some essential dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Do experiment with different honey varieties to match the flavor profiles of your spirits; the diversity in honey types can add complexity to your drinks. 

Do consider crafting a honey syrup by mixing equal parts of honey and hot water, making it easier to blend seamlessly with other cocktail ingredients. 

Don’t use straight honey; opting for a syrup prevents clumping and ensures even distribution, particularly in chilled cocktails. 

Do take advantage of honey’s aromatic qualities by exploring complementary ingredients like citrus, herbs, and spices to enhance the overall flavor profile. 

Remember, a little honey can go a long way, so do approach its addition with a delicate hand.

What Is Honey Syrup?

Honey syrup is a liquid sweetener made by combining honey with hot water. The process results in a smoother and more fluid consistency compared to pure honey. This syrup offers several advantages when mixing cocktails, as we mentioned above: it ensures even distribution of sweetness throughout the drink, prevents clumping, and allows for easier incorporation with other ingredients, especially in cold beverages. 

The use of honey syrup in cocktails adds a balanced and consistent sweetness without altering the drink’s texture, making it a fantastic choice for bartenders and at-home cocktail chefs looking to achieve a smooth blend of flavors.

How to Make Honey Syrup: A Honey Syrup Recipe for Honey Cocktails

Making honey syrup is super simple, and it’s a fantastic ingredient to have on hand, whether you’re a bartender or just an at-home cocktail mixer. To make some smooth, sweet honey syrup, follow these stems, then store for up to a month.

  1. Start by selecting a high-quality honey that complements the flavors you intend to incorporate into your cocktails.
  2. Measure out equal parts of honey and hot water. The standard ratio is 1:1, which means half a cup of honey and half a cup of hot water for this recipe.
  3. In a heat-resistant container or mixing bowl, combine the honey and hot water.
  4. Stir the mixture thoroughly until the honey completely dissolves in the hot water. You’ll notice the liquid transforming into a smooth and consistent texture.
  5. Allow the honey syrup to cool to room temperature. This step ensures that your syrup is ready for immediate use and won’t alter the temperature of your cocktails.
  6. Once cooled, your honey syrup is ready to be incorporated into a variety of cocktails. Store any excess syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator 

Honey Syrup Variations: Adding Some “Oomph” to Your Cocktails With Ease

For an extra layer of flavor, you can infuse your honey syrup with herbs, spices, or even citrus peels. Simply add the desired ingredient to the mixture while it’s still warm, let it steep for a while, and then strain out the solids before storing.

5 Honey Cocktails and Cocktails Using Honey Syrup to Try for National Honey Month

Are you looking for some deliciously sweet honey cocktails to try in September? Here are five different drinks that you can try your hand at if you have some of the honey syrup we outlined above. Which one is your favorite?

Honey Cocktail #1: The Bee’s Knees

This is a very simple, tart, floral cocktail that will highlight the aromatic notes of whatever gin you choose. One good option is Caledonia Spirits’ “Barr Hill” Gin. Here’s the recipe:

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz gin, ¾ oz lemon juice, and ½ oz honey syrup.
  3. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Honey Cocktail #2: The Bourbon Honey Sour

For a honey spin on the classic bourbon sour, check out this delicious cocktail. You can always omit the egg white if you want a clear drink, but the egg adds a delicious frothiness and smoothness to the drink that you might enjoy.

  1. Combine 2 oz bourbon, ¾ oz lemon juice, ½ oz honey syrup, and one egg white (if using) in a shaker without ice.
  2. Dry shake vigorously to emulsify the ingredients.
  3. Add ice to the shaker and shake again.
  4. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
  5. Add a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters on top.

Honey Cocktail #3: The Lavender Honey Collins

If you want a more “floral” experience, the Lavender Honey Collins is a great way to get that. Remember how we said you can add herbal and floral notes to your honey syrup? This is a cocktail where that infusion gets used! Here’s your recipe:

  1. Fill a Collins glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz gin, ¾ oz lavender-infused honey syrup, and ¾ oz lemon juice.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Top with ~4 oz club soda and gently stir again.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender.

Honey Cocktail #4: The Honeyed Margarita

If you’re already a fan of the margarita, and you love honey, mixing this cocktail up for yourself is a no-brainer! In this margarita, the simple syrup is just replaced with honey syrup, making it super simple. Let’s check out the recipe:

  1. Rim a rocks glass with salt, if desired.
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. In a shaker, combine 2 oz tequila, ¾ oz honey syrup, ¾ oz lime juice, and ½ oz triple sec.
  4. Shake well and strain into the prepared glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Honey Cocktail #5: The Whiskey Honey Smash

This cocktail takes honey into a minty zone, making it a cool, summer drink for those hot evenings. To make this one, check out the following recipe:

  1. In a shaker, muddle a handful of mint leaves with ½ oz honey syrup and ½ oz lemon juice.
  2. Add 2 oz whiskey and fill the shaker with ice.
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig of mint.

Find Local Spirits for Your Honey Cocktails at Distillery Nearby

Elevate your cocktail game this National Honey Month by sourcing local spirits for your honey-infused creations. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned mixologist, exploring the world of honey cocktails can be fun!. To get started, check out our “by-state” directory, where you can easily find distilleries near you. 

By supporting local businesses, you not only contribute to your community but also get the chance to discover unique spirits that perfectly complement the sweetness of honey. Unleash your creativity, experiment with flavors, and raise a glass to the remarkable harmony of honey and spirits!

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