There are many creative ways to save the bees, but I bet you never thought it was possible just by sipping on your favorite cocktail or mocktail! 🍹

Yes, that's right, you now have another reason not to feel guilty about that cheeky cocktail :). You can tell people you're drinking to save the bees. πŸ˜„

The most obvious conclusion might be to drink honey cocktails. But many premium cocktail bars also use herbs for their delicious creations.

Common herbs used to make cocktails include cilantro, tarragon, and dill, all of which bees love!

Cocktail bar herb station
Cocktail bar herb station - Image credit: Mimi Thian via Twenty20

If more bars and restaurants started small herb gardens or even pot plants around their premises, pollinators would have more food to thrive, especially in urban areas.

Think this is a radical idea? We're excited to tell you it already exists!

Barrels & Bees Program

To coincide with National Honey Month in September 2020, Aberfeldy Distillery and Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) partnered in the United States to create the ABERFELDY Gardening Giveback Project.

The goal was to get bartenders to help plant and maintain community garden bee sanctuaries to help grow flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Bartenders learning about herbs and honey from beekeeper
Bartenders learning about herbs and honey from beekeeper - Image credit: ABERFELDY

Not only do these gardens help bee populations in the area, but they also provide bartenders the ingredients they need to make cocktails.

While the initiative might not single-handedly save the bees, it highlights how we need to start thinking about our relationship to nature in everything we do.

Bee Informed Partnership (BIP)

One of the exciting aspects of the Barrels & Bees Program is the exposure for the Bee Informed Partnership. BIP is an exciting non-profit organization using science and data to help pollinators and ecosystems.

BIP has created a website for their research findings for anyone to use. The interactive data maps insect viruses, hive monitors, colony losses, and more. This insightful data gives us a better understanding of the challenges we need to overcome to provide better ecosystems for our pollinators and their ecosystems.

How to Support the Barrels & Bees Program

If you want to visit one of the Barrels & Bees bars, check out Aberfeldy's website for a full list of the bars and garden partners.

If you would like to support Bee Informed Partnership, you can donate or purchase merchandise via their website.

Bee-Inspired Cocktails and Mocktails

Why not host a bee-inspired cocktail party! Here are 5 refreshing cocktails you can make at home using a bee's favorite herbs.

Please source as many ingredients as possible from your garden (or community garden), farmer's market, or local honey producer.

ABERFELDY's The Herbed Honey Mash

ABERFELDY's The Herbed Honey Mash cocktail
ABERFELDY's The Herbed Honey Mash cocktail - Image credit: ABERFELDY

INGREDIENTS: ​
2 parts ABERFELDY 12​
1.5 parts lemon juice​
1 part local honey syrup*​
4-6 leaves of soft herb (for example, basil or mint)​

METHOD: ​
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice.​ Shake and pour into a small glass filled with ice. ​Garnish with your fresh herb of choice, and enjoy!​

*To make honey syrup, combine equal parts local honey and hot water and stir until honey dissolves.

Recipe Credit: The Herbed Honey Mash by ABERFELDY Scotch Whiskey

Dill Cucumber Gin Fizz

Dill Cucumber Gin Fizz
Dill Cucumber Gin Fizz - Image credit: La Brea Bakery

INGREDIENTS:
2 parts gin (exclude gin to make mocktail)
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
3 parts club soda or sparkling water
fresh dill
4 round cucumber slices (save one for garnish)

METHOD: ​

  1. In a short glass, add 3 slices of cucumber, gin, lime juice, and a few dill sprigs (removed from the stem). Muddle until the cucumber starts to break up.
  2. Add ice and top with club soda or sparkling water.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of dill and a cucumber wedge and serve.

Recipe Credit: Dill Cucumber Gin Fizz by La Brea Bakery

Gin Mojito With Dill

Gin Mojito With Dill
Gin Mojito With Dill - Image credit: Meg is Well

INGREDIENTS:
2 dill fronds
3/4 part local honey syrup*​
3/4 part fresh lime juice
2 parts gin (exclude gin to make mocktail)
2 parts club soda or to taste

METHOD: ​

  1. In a shaker, muddle the dill fronds.
  2. Add the syrup, lime juice, gin, and fill with ice.
  3. Shake well and pour unstrained into a highball glass.
  4. Top with the soda and garnish with a dill frond.

*To make honey syrup, combine equal parts local honey and hot water and stir until honey dissolves.

Recipe Credit: Gin Mojito With Dill by Meg is Well

Tarragon Negroni

Tarragon Negroni - Image credit: Williams Sonoma

Tarragon syrup INGREDIENTS:
1 cup water
1 cup locally sourced honey
5 fresh tarragon sprigs

Cocktail INGREDIENTS:
2 part gin
1 part Campari
1 part Lillet
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 dash Peychaud's bitters
1 fresh tarragon sprig

METHOD:

To make the tarragon syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a simmer.
  2. Add the sugar and tarragon and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

To make the Tarragon Negroni (per serving)

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, Campari, Lillet, lemon juice, 1/4 oz. (7 ml) of the tarragon syrup and the Peychaud's bitters.
  2. Cover, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled rocks or coupe glass.
  3. Add ice if desired and garnish with the tarragon sprig.

Recipe Credit: Tarragon Negroni by Williams Sonoma

Cilantro Cooler

Cilantro Cooler
Cilantro Cooler - Image credit: Wendell T. Webber

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
5 cilantro leaves, plus 1 flowering cilantro sprig for garnish (optional)
Ice
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
1-ounce chilled club soda

METHOD:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber and cilantro leaves. Add ice and the vodka, lime juice, and Simple Syrup and shake well. Double strain into an ice-filled collins glass, stir in the club soda, and garnish.

Recipe Credit: Cilantro Cooler by Food & Wine