Photos by Sean Gasser.

Naturally sweet cocktails make a buzz this spring

Usually, insects are something we’d rather distance ourselves from. But when it comes to Louisiana’s state bug, the honeybee, we’re rethinking our stance. Not only are they an essential part of our ecosystem, but their honey is the sweet centerpiece of the spring cocktails brought to us by local Instagram mixologist Katherine Roberts of @cocktails_with_katherine.

“Louisiana has amazing local honey,” explains Roberts, who used Bernard’s Acadiana Honey from Henderson for the cocktails featured here, as well as a honeycomb sourced from Westwego. “Local honey is a great substitute for simple syrup because it adds both flavor and dimension while achieving a richness that regular sugar cannot.”

But for the cocktails below, honey isn’t reserved for just the drink itself. Roberts’ drinks are as much about presentation as they are taste, and with these drinks, honey was the glue holding the floral displays together on the rims of each glass.

“Using honey allows you to attach larger buds to the rim of your glass to create a delicate flower crown or ombré effect up the side,” she explains. “Just be sure to use edible flowers only in and around your cocktail and always give them a good rinse to remove any pollen or dirt.”

Keep scrolling for the recipes for each of Roberts’ buzzworthy spring cocktails, and for even more insight, check out her instagram.

Bee’s Knees

2 oz. gin
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Honey Syrup (see recipe below)
Chamomile flowers for garnish
Combine gin, lemon juice, Honey Syrup and ice in a shaker. Shake for 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. I recommend chamomile flowers for garnish to create a small flower crown.

Apiary Smash

1 oz. strawberry purée
½ oz. Honey Syrup
2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Mint sprig for garnish
Muddle 3 to 4 strawberries to create purée. Adding Honey Syrup, lemon juice and bourbon to a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then double strain over a large ice cube. Add a sprig of mint for garnish.

Bee Sting

2 oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. lime juice
¾ oz. Honey Syrup
1 ½ oz. mezcal*
Sparkling water
Snapdragon flowers for garnish
Fill a Collins glass with ice. Start with grapefruit juice, then lime juice, next Honey Syrup, and finally, mezcal. Top with sparkling water. For garnish, I like to use snapdragons because of their ombré blossoms.
* Tequila can be used in place of mezcal.

Pollinator’s Lemonade

1 ½ oz. vodka
½ oz. blueberry purée
½ oz. Honey Syrup
½ oz. lemon juice
2 mint sprigs
Lemon and blueberry for garnish
Combine vodka, blueberry purée, Honey Syrup, lemon juice and mint sprigs in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds. Double strain over an ice sphere. For garish, wrap a frayed lemon peel around a large blueberry and secure with a cocktail pick to create a flower.

Honey Syrup

½ cup honey
½ cup water
Combine ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir until honey and water are combined and smooth. Be careful not to boil.

Want to learn more about local honey? Check out this story from the inRegister archives.