Bumblebee · Cafe ArtScience

By Eric Twardzik · 11/13/2017

Kendall Square’s Café ArtScience serves a cocktail menu with an environmentally conscious twist. Each drink is inspired by (and named after) an animal on the endangered species list. The menu changes daily based on the fresh flowers, fruits, and herbs supplied by Lincoln’s Blue Heron Organic Farm, but one drink—and threatened species—will always remain on top: the Bumblebee.

“The bumblebee is one of the most important species that helps the ecosystem sustain life,” says Bar Director Tenzin Samdo. By placing it on the menu, alongside a detailed illustration and facts about the species, Samdo hopes to increase awareness of the insect’s plight.

“The whole idea was to encourage guests to take the menu home,” Samdo says.

Samdo’s Bumblebee is a twist on the Bee’s Knees, a classic cocktail that combines gin, lemon, and honey. His version employs Nolet’s Silver Gin, a less juniper-forward spirit with notes of Turkish rose and saffron. Those soft, floral flavors are boosted by a house-made saffron-cardamom-honey syrup and three sprays of atomized absinthe. (Pro tip: Samdo suggests using the syrup to make Margaritas and Gold Rushes, too.)

Fitting for a bee advocate, Samdo utilizes wild honey to make his syrup. He buys his from Follow the Honey, a specialty honey store in Cambridge.

2 ounces Nolet’s Silver Gin

1 ounce saffron-cardamom-honey syrup*
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 sprays of absinthe (using atomizer)
Lavender buds and dried Turkish rose, to garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a pinch of lavender buds and a pinch of dried Turkish rose.

*Saffron-cardamom-honey syrup (yields 1 quart)
½ quart water
½ quart wild honey
10 green cardamom seeds
Pinch of saffron

Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add cardamom seeds, saffron, and honey. Stir until honey is dissolved, then strain into a sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps for up to two weeks.

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