Honey Creates a Buzz at National Cocktail Event

Posted by National Honey Board on August 04, 2016

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The National Honey Board (NHB) found itself at the sweet spot of all things cocktail and culinary recently, at the 2016 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.  As a Tasting Room sponsor at the annual event, our aim was to inform and inspire beverage professionals on honey's usage in cocktails.  This was certainly accomplished, with the help of our team of expert mixologists/honey aficionados, led by NHB beverage consultant Kim Haasarud.

Situated at the elegant Royal Sonesta Hotel, the Tasting Room consisted of three adjoining rooms, as well as a wrap-around balcony overlooking the French Quarter. Upon arrival at the session, guests were directed into the honey tasting room that included five honey varietals for sampling and NHB-branded giveaways.  Everyone from mixologists to spirit brand ambassadors to cocktail enthusiasts took their time sampling the different varietals and asking thoughtful questions about honey sourcing, honey bees, and uses for the different varietals in food and beverage applications.

From there, guests moved on to the parlor where industry influentials and Honey Summit alumni Natalie Bovis and Caterina Miltenberger greeted guests with a variety of honey cocktails. Stationed at the main bar, Caterina served a Bee's Knees, Daiquiri, and Old Fashioned, each made with a different honey varietal that guests had sampled in the previous room.  Natalie had an enthusiastic crowd gathered around her at the side bar, where she served "Margaritas 3 Ways" – three different margaritas, made with Orange Blossom, Wildflower and Buckwheat honey syrups for side-by-side comparison.  The Buckwheat honey version seemed to create the most buzz as a bolder twist on a traditional margarita.

In the final room, Master Mixologist Kim Haasarud and B.A.R. Certified Layla Linn dazzled attendees with an array of spirit and honey varietal pairings. From gin, to bourbon, and everything in between, people were able to see how different honey varietals paired with different spirits. This tasting allowed them to experience more directly how a particular spirit would play with the different honeys.  This last station seemed to leave attendees buzzing with new beverage ideas!

Overall, the two-hour tasting session proved to be a hive of activity from the start and was informally rated as the top session in its category. Attendees also commented that they each had several "aha" moments in every room and were inspired to see what other varietals they could get their hands on and play with.  (Of course, we directed them to the Honey Locator tool on honey.com.).  We look forward to seeing where this creativity leads, and toast another successful honey event!