Polaris Derby · The Emory

By Eric Twardzik · 09/06/2019

The Brown Derby is a classic cocktail prepared with whiskey, honey, and grapefruit, made famous by the same-named restaurant chain that operated in Los Angeles during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

This recent reinterpretation comes courtesy of The Emory in Beacon Hill, whose Polaris Derby trades whiskey for gin, introduces lime juice to the mix, and ties it all together with a matcha-honey syrup.

The base spirit is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, which is distilled with Japanese gunpowder tea. It’s a thematic match to the matcha-honey syrup (water and honey with a sprinkling of matcha powder). Bar director Melissa Benson recommends sourcing local honey from a farmers’ market or the specialty shop Follow the Honey in Harvard Square.

A trace amount of matcha is enough to give the cocktail a deep green hue. It also provides a green tea flavor without overpowering the gin or the juices.

The name is inspired by Bombus polaris, one of two bumblebee species capable of living in the sub-freezing climate of the Arctic Circle.

“I thought it would be fun to feature bees because we need them for survival,” Benson says. “And also, because we’re using a really wonderful wild honey.”

Polaris Derby
1½ ounces Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin

¾ ounce matcha-honey syrup*
¾ ounce ruby red grapefruit juice
¼ ounce lime juice
Orchid, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with orchid.

 *Matcha-Honey Syrup (yields about 1 pint)
1 cup water

1 cup wildflower honey
2 tablespoons matcha powder

Add water to saucepan and bring to a boil. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and whisk in matcha powder until completely dissolved. Keeps up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.

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