It’s summertime in New York City and I’ve been bee-witched. In the park there are bushes alive with busy bumblebees every morning. I’ve fallen under the spell of their nectar-intoxicated dance; their ingredient-gathering ritual that results in the magical miracle of honey.
Bees and their honey are rich with magical lore. Bees were a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt; one of the titles of the Pharaohs was “of the sedge and bee” representing Upper and lower Egypt. It was said that bees grew from the tears of the sun god, Ra, as they fell on the hot sand.
The bee is also a symbol of the Divine Feminine, and the priestesses of Aphrodite, Artemis and Demeter were known as the Melissae, which translates as bees. The bee is sacred to Aphrodite and therefore has a special place in love magic. It’s sweet and sticky properties lend it well to to this.
Bees also bestow eloquence on those whose lips they touch, so that honeyed words pour forth.
In the 1920’s, the “bee-stung” lip look was all the rage in beauty circles, a sort of swollen pucker that begged to be kissed.
I love this painting of Cupid complaining to Venus of being stung by bees when stealing a honeycomb. The inscription reads: “Life’s pleasure is mixed with pain”. Touche!
The cocktail I present you with today is inspired by this lore. Sweet and spicy, it reminds us both of the honey that bees provide as well as their sting, which can be quite pleasurable in the right doses. Formulated to enhance verbal seduction.
Using honey in cocktails requires that you make a honey syrup, a simple procedure where you mix honey 1:1 with warm water to thin it out, otherwise it will clump in the cold environment of the shaker. You can make as much or as little as you like and store in the fridge.
The Sweetest Sting
2 oz. rhum agricole blanc
.75 oz honey syrup
.25 oz fresh lime juice
sliver of fresh hot pepper
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake it like you mean it. Strain into a cocktail glass. Optionally, you can garnish it with a bee assembled from lemon peel, a blueberry and mint leaves.