As the weather heats up and the days stretch longer, we find it less and less necessary to have a good excuse to enjoy a drink come happy hour. But if we absolutely need to come up with something, “it’s for a good cause” stands as a pretty good reason. Enter the Karma Cocktail program at the newly opened restaurant The Lucky Bee in New York City. The restaurant, which specializes in seasonal, Southeast Asian street food-inspired meals, has partnered with the New York Beekeepers Association and Andrew’s Honey to create a unique honey-infused cocktail menu that donates $1 of each cocktail sold to the association.
“Whenever I order a cocktail at any bar or restaurant, I always ask them to hold the sugary syrups and use honey instead,” says co-owner Rupert Noffs. “It’s not only better for you, it adds a beautiful, mellow taste to drinks.”
Flavor wasn’t the main motivation behind the Karma Cocktails, though. “We wanted honey and bees involved,” says Noffs. “Bees are dying at a rapid rate and we need them to survive to pollinate our food, but with all the chemicals and pesticides farmers are using, they are working overtime and dying out because of it.”
The Lucky Bee team, lead by chef Matty Bennett, isn't afraid to spice up the sweet stuff as displayed in their "We Know You Like It Hot" cocktail, which features a Thai chili-infused honey. Read on for the recipe, and learn more about how you can help support the New York Beekeepers Association's efforts to save the bees.
We Know You Like It Hot
2 oz. Espolon Tequila (any quality blanco tequila can be substituted)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. Thai chili honey (recipe follows)
1 oz. chili salt
Fresh Thai basil, for garnish (domestic basil can be used as a substitute, but is not recommended)
1. To make the Thai chili honey: Take your preferred amount of regular honey and add equal parts water. Then, wearing gloves (otherwise you risk causing irritation to your skin), add approximately a handful of dried Thai chilis. Bring everything to a boil in a pot over the stove. Once it comes to a boil, lower the burner and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the peppers and seeds and let cool. The honey will stay good for a few weeks if stored in the fridge.
2. To make the salt rim, add 1/2 ounce of lime juice to the plate. Add one ounce chili salt to a second, separate plate. Place your glass (a coupe works best) upside down in the lime juice to wet the rim. Shake off excess juice and dip the rim into the chili salt.
3. For the drink, measure out two ounces of tequila with a jigger and add to a small shaker. Next, add 3/4 ounce Thai chili honey and 3/4 ounce lime juice to the shaker. Add two basil leaves and plenty of ice.
4. Shake vigorously. Strain into your prepared coupe and garnish with a basil leaf and fresh Thai chili.