I love a good cocktail. Forget cheap sugary drinks or the swill we guzzled as broke college kids. I adore quality spirits combined in new, inventive ways that are designed to bring out the subtle flavor nuances of the ingredients. For me, it isn't about the buzz...that's just a secondary payoff to the process of playing with flavor and tickling the palate with new, subtle combinations.
My love of booze began back in law school, when I moonlighted as a cocktail waitress and occasional bartender to pay my way through school. Although my tastes have improved considerably since those days, the joy of mixing and experimenting began behind a stainless steel bar in a cajun food restaurant and expanded to my own liquor cabinet. Over the years, I've visited some of the best bartenders of the craft cocktail movement, tasted the creations of adventurous mixologists, and sampled the eclectic pairings of booze-minded chefs. As a result, I love nothing more than to play around in my own kitchen with new cocktail recipes and a couple of nights a week, you can find me dragging out the jigger and shaker, digging through the produce drawer, and mixing up something tasty to drink.
Tonight, as I sipped my drink, I thought: wouldn't it be great if I could marry my love of booze and my love of photography?
And just like that, a new personal photography project was born.
The timing is perfect. This week, I will conclude my first 365-day photo project. I've been considering where to go from here: will I continue daily shooting, or transition into a weekly project? Or do I just take a break from the pressure of a 365?
I'm not entirely sure what I'll do after my 365-day project concludes...but I can tell you, it will include a bunch of photos of cocktails. Booze and a camera...sounds like heaven to me.
Tonight, I decided to play with a recipe for Bee's Knees. This is a classic cocktail from the Prohibition era that used citrus and honey to cover up the shudder-inducing bathtub gin that was a staple of the time. Tonight, I decided to drag out the Lehua honey from Big Island Bees. My husband picked up a jar of this delicate honey infused with cinnamon, and it is amazing. Sweet and slightly floral, the honey is balanced beautiful by the woodsy cinnamon. I couldn't wait to shake it up with one of my favorite gins, Hendricks. Although I would have preferred to use Botanist Gin, alas I am currently out, and I figured the light and floral Hendricks would work well with the honey. And since I was using the Hawaiian Lehua honey, I decided to translate the name into Hawaiian.
Here's the recipe:
Meli Kuli (Bee's Knees)
2 oz. Hendricks gin
3/4 oz. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. hot water
1 tsp. Lehua honey (Can't find it? Feel free to substitute any local, unfiltered, raw honey. Be adventurous--there are more than 300 varieties of honey in the U.S., all with their own flavor profile. You can't go wrong!)
Place hot water and honey in a cocktail shaker and stir or shake until the honey is completely dissolved. Add gin and lemon juice and ice. Shake for a full 60 seconds, then strain into a chilled martini glass and serve.