This time last year I was idling around Soho, hoping to have a drink with Mr Belleau Kitchen. Alas, our schedules did not allow it, but we're finally managing a kind of virtual cocktail hour through this month's Random Recipes challenge.
For July, Dom has asked us to delve deep into our drinks books and come up with a cocktail recipe. I didn't have to try very hard - when I lifted a notebook off the shelf in my office a tiny slip of paper with this recipe on it fluttered out. It's for a Bees Knees, a honey, lemon and gin cocktail that I last made for my father in a tiny flat in Hampstead in 2008. That flat has long gone from my life and, sadly, so has Dad, but shaking this up in a jam jar took me back there in an instant. If gin makes you maudlin - look, even writing about it makes me a bit blue - then rest assured you can make it with vodka too.
The Bees Knees
I remember cutting this recipe out of the Observer Food Monthly several weeks ahead of my parents' visit, chiefly because honey and gin were two of Dad's great loves. (Cigars, red wine, steak and chocolate were harder to fit in a cocktail glass.) I've rejigged the quantities a little and this amount is enough for two - or one very thirsty person. To me, this is the perfect cocktail; it's short, punchy and not too sweet.
50ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp honey syrup - made by stirring together 1 Tbsp honey and 2 Tbsp water
100ml best quality gin (or vodka)
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake to combine. Strain into two martini glasses and garnish with a strip of lemon rind. Serves two.
Are you a fan of the cocktail hour? What's your poison?