Quick take: Pair a Bee’s Knees cocktail with a Rocamadour cheese
In our cheese + cocktail pairing project, I combine my cocktail know-how with the encyclopedic cheese knowledge of Jennifer Greco of Chez Loulou for a series of classic cocktail and cheese pairings.
Spring is nearly here, so this month we are pairing a classic cocktail that is fun, light and refreshing with a touch of honey: the Bee’s Knees.
March Pairing: Bee’s Knees cocktail with Rocamadour cheese
Tips, Tricks & Lessons learned:
- We chose the Rocamadour as the best pairing for the Bee’s Knees because basically the cheese really made the cocktail pop and it was a multilayered tasting experience. After tasting the cheese, the first sip of the cocktail was great – then the cheese disappears until reappearing with length and heightening the overall ‘zing’ of the combo. Putting these two together was like adding salt to a dish, giving just the necessary oomf to the flavour of each, both separately and together.
- In addition to the Rocamadour, the following cheeses also work in a pairing: Petit Gaugry and Bouton de Culotte.
- If you’re looking to stretch the pairing experience a little two other interesting choices were the Saint-Marcellin (the cocktail gets lost a little, but the pairing really smooths out any acidity in the cocktail and highlights the honey) and the 2 year old Comté (also smoothed out the acidity and highlighted the sweetness of the cocktail)
- Cheeses that made for an unpleasant pairing: Brie de Meaux, Ossau-Iraty, Brillat-Savarin, and Fourme d’Ambert.
- This drink should work really well with chèvre, which makes sense as citrus and/or honey can be a natural pairing. And, contrary to what we were expecting before the tasting, it is particularly off-putting with bleu chese.
- It’s interesting and surprising how each different cheese really changes the perception of the citrus in this particular cocktail.
- Many people like a American style gin with floral notes in their Bees Knees cocktail (flowers + honey). I prefer a straight forward London dry, so we went with Beefeater gin for an interesting contract of juniper and honey.
- Some older recipes call for proportions of 2:1:1 for the gin, lemon juice and honey syrup, while newer ones skew towards the taste for something more tart with a 2:1:.75 for the gin, lemon juice and honey syrup. In general I prefer the latter, but did add just a little tiny extra drop of the honey syrup thinking it might play nicely with the cheese.
- This is a cocktail recipe that lends itself to playing around with the three simple ingredients and allowing different elements to shine through: play around with different gins or different kinds of honey in the drink and you’ll discover some fun (and hopefully tasty different flavor combinations.
- I strain my lemon juice before measuring and adding it to the shaker (rather than double straining the cocktail at the end) because it makes a more accurate and better balanced finished product.
Bees Knees Cocktail recipe
60 ml gin (we used Beefeater)
30 ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
25 ml Honey Syrup*
Shake all ingredients with ice
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
*Honey syrup is equal parts water and honey. I pour the honey into a clean jar and put in the microwave or a bowl of hot water long enough to let it soften, to make it easy to mix with the water when added. Try and find a jar with a lid and straight sides so you can easily eyeball the 50/50 of honey and water, put the lid on and shake to combine.
If you’re here, I already know you like cocktails. But, if you want to learn more about these or other cheeses, I recommend some time on Jennifer’s blog and Instagram or signing up for one of her cheese workshops with Paris by Mouth.
Up next: What Cheese to Pair with an Amaretto Sour cocktail