Fluffy Bee · Alcove
After Dark · Tres Gatos
Umeshu Spritz · Whaling in Oklahoma
During allergy season, some swear by bee pollen as a natural cure. While we’re not qualified to weigh in on its medicinal benefits, we can say with confidence that it makes an excellent cocktail garnish.
The proof is Fluffy Bee, a fizzy highball packed with spices and served by Alcove in Boston’s West End. It draws some inspiration from the classic gin fizz, but swaps out its juniper-based spirit for Nicaraguan rum.
The bright, fresh rum is augmented by strong herbal flavors from ginger and spiced honey syrups. The addition of egg white might make it look thick as a milkshake, but the cocktail is light and frothy; it feels just as restorative as a spiced tea.
The final flourish comes from a one-two-punch garnish: hearts made from drops of Angostura bitters on one side of the drink’s surface and a dusting of bee pollen on the other. The pollen—which principal bartender Will Piquette says you can find at Whole Foods—is not only aromatic and visually appealing. It’s also fully edible, adding a textural crunch to those first few sips.
As for making the perfect Angostura heart, Piquette recommends practice. “It takes a steady hand and little bit of patience,” he says.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, Piquette suggests swapping out the spiced honey syrup with a mix of equal parts hot water and honey. (It delivers the same amount of sweetness, but not the full punch of spice.)
1¾ ounces Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce ginger syrup*
½ ounce spiced honey syrup**
1 egg white (from 1 large egg)
1 teaspoon bee pollen, for garnish
Angostura bitters, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnishes to a shaker without ice and dry shake to combine. Fill shaker with ice and shake again until chilled, then double strain into a Collins glass filled with large ice cubes. Dash one side of the drink’s surface with Angostura bitters, then drag a cocktail pick through the middle of the drops to create hearts. Sprinkle the other side of the drink with bee pollen to complete the garnish.
*Ginger Syrup (yields 1 cup)
200 grams ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
200 grams water
200 grams granulated sugar
0.5 grams citric acid
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until sugar has completely dissolved and mixture is smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps up to 1 week.
**Spiced Honey Syrup (yields about 2 cups)
1 cup clover honey
1 cup hot water
¼ teaspoon green cardamom pods
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon whole allspice
⅛ cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients to a pot over low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. Transfer to a sealed container and let mixture sit overnight, refrigerated. Strain, then return to sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps about one month.