MxMo made from scratch

Kentucky Woman

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Doug at Pegu Blog. His theme is made from scratch ingredients. This one sneaked up on me, so I didn’t have time for anything requiring long infusions. Bitters? No time. Tonic water? Brandied cherries? Done those already. With not many options left, this seemed like a good opportunity to try out the honey lavender syrup from The Art of the Bar:

1 cup hot water
.5 cup honey
.25 cup dried lavender

Keeping the water off boil, briefly infuse the lavender into it. Remove it from heat and pour it over the honey, stirring until mixed. Let it steep until cool, then pour through a sieve to remove the petals. You’re left with a sweet and distinctly fragrant syrup.

(Random aside: When I was in elementary school I developed an irrational dislike of honey. I don’t know if it was the fact that it came from bees or the silly bear jars or something else entirely, but for some reason I decided I did not like it. It wasn’t until the past year or so that revisited this belief and realized that honey is pure, sweet deliciousness.)

The guys at Absinthe used this syrup to make a lavender Sidecar. That’s a good drink, but a bourbon-honey combination struck me as a more natural pairing. After a bit of experimentation I came up with this Kentucky Woman cocktail:

1.75 oz bourbon
.5 oz honey lavender syrup
.25 oz lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters

The ingredients all play very well together. The bourbon blends with the honey, the lemon adds a touch of acidity and brightness, and the lavender gives the drink a lovely floral aroma. It shines with its own kind of light; you drink it once and a day that’s all wrong looks all right. And I love her, God knows her I love her.

Wait, what? Sorry, I got a little carried away there. But it is a tasty cocktail and a nice syrup. Generally speaking I’m not sure that infusing syrup is the best approach to this kind of drink. Doing so ties sweetness to flavor, so that to add more of one you must also add more of the other. A lavender tincture and a separate syrup might be the better way to go. But like I said, I didn’t have time for that, and in this case the syrup works just fine.

Thanks to Doug for hosting this month. I’ll post a link to the roundup when he gets it posted.

Update: Doug’s got the full roundup right here. And he’s right, I do need to get out more.


  1. Doug Winship says:

    This I will have to try.
    By the way, your Kentucky Woman, if you double the honey, is essentially The World’s Greatest Cough Medicine.
    This is not a joke or a slam.
    Straight Bourbon and Honey beats NyQuil.
    This drink would beat Nyquil like it owes it money.
    I may get my daughter with the Cold to breathe on me, just so I can try this out.
    Or not.

  2. Caleb says:

    Lavender and Bourbon. Lord, Lordie, do I know *that* Kentucky woman.

  3. Jacob Grier says:

    Good call there, Doug! Maybe a little hot water, too. I could see needing a few of those this rainy Portland winter. Might try that tonight, with or without a cold…

  4. Jacob Grier says:

    Also, this post is now bringing up a Google ad for Tim McGraw’s new cologne. Maybe lavender and bourbon is the recipe?

  5. Ula says:

    Whoa! I also developed an irrational distaste for honey when I was little. I think like, 3 years old or so. I have vague memories of getting a sandwich with honey on it during pre-school and hating it. But now I’m a fan.


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