2 oz Barrel Aged Gin [Caledonia Spirts Tom Cat]
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
A few weeks ago I went on a ski trip with some friends for the weekend to Jay Peak in Vermont. Knowing that I enjoy a good cocktail now and then, one of them suggested I come up with a drink we could all enjoy. Having to manage a range of tastebuds can sometimes be challenging, so I often start with the classics. In this case, the Bee’s Knees was my inspiration.
Being the lover of whiskey that I am, I wanted to bring things closer to the brown spirit end of the spectrum. Instead of the traditional gin, I swapped in a barrel aged version for slightly more depth and roastiness. And since we were in Vermont, maple syrup seemed like the obvious choice for the sweetener. In fact, I even went one step further by grabbing a bottle of Bar Hill Tom Cat gin from Caledonia Spirits in – you guessed it – Vermont.
They take their normal gin (made with some local raw honey, so it’s already a good start for a Bee’s Knee’s variation) and age it new American Oak barrels. The botanicals definitely still shine through, but I really enjoy the way the honey bridges the gap from flowers to wood. PSA: This gin also makes a mean Martniez.
As for my Bee’s Skis, all I needed was the usual lemon and the drink was complete. The aroma was very floral, with some citrus notes coming through as well. The sip had more botanicals and brightness from the lemon, complimented by the syrup and wood. I actually added a touch more lemon than my usual Bee’s Knees to account for the sweeter maple syrup. The balance was lovely, and I definitely need to find other ways to pair this gin and maple. Even better, all my friends enjoyed it and I ended up mixing up a few rounds over the weekend.
Next time someone suggests you make a special drink, start with the classics. What’s more, pick one that has a few ingredients but is easily customizable. I could have taken the Bee’s Knees template in a number of directions, but I let the Vermont setting be my guide, and it turned out just fine.