This past week the 17th annual Tales of the Cocktail took place in New Orleans. For those who are unfamiliar with the event — it’s a week long conference that focuses on the spirits and hospitality industry. This non-profit organization’s mission is to educate, advance, and support the global hospitality community through seminars, events, and trade activations.
This year, The Native Guy was honored with a chance to take part in one of the Tales of the Cocktail seminars sponsored by our friends at Aberfeldy. Hive to Highball was presented by Georgie Bell, the global single malts ambassador for Bacardi, along with a panel of incredible queen bees Maggie Campbell, Nadine Nelson, and Anya Montague. Each presenter shared their knowledge of the honey bee, their importance, and how the bartending community can make a difference.
About the presenters:
Anya Montague - Fell in love with beekeeping while being the bar manager at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and over the last year traveled the world learning from local beekeepers about closed loop cocktails.
Nadine Nelson - Career educator, chef, activist and owner of Global Local Gourmet, helped to connect honey to cuisine, strengthening the link between the bar and the kitchen. She spoke about how to work with and highlight honey flavor variances in both mixed drinks and simple dishes.
Maggie Campbell - President and head distiller at Privateer rum, talked about the benefits and fulfillment of becoming a part-time hobby beekeeper and how to set up your own apiary – whether it be on a bar rooftop or in the backyard.
About the seminar:
Twelve honeys from around the world were used as examples during the seminar, including our very own lychee honey. Golden Drams made with Aberfeldy were served featuring The Native Guy’s lychee honey.
During the panel attendees learned that honey is one of the few cocktail ingredients that predates the agricultural revolution and is the only paleo ingredient that was actually around during paleo times. The presenters took the class on a journey around the world with honeys from places as far as Australia and Zimbabwe to Boston, Connecticut, and Texas. Each honey had a unique taste and a variety of uses.
The USA alone is home to 300 unique kinds of honey, and each one of these can deliver a different flavor profile to work with in mixed drinks. The class focused on how honey can completely transform cocktails and the flavor infinities that come from pairing various spirits and honey together.
The seminar ended with a quick lesson and tips on becoming a beekeeper, the importance of local honey, and how we can contribute to saving the honey bee.
Thank you to Georgie, Aberfeldy, and Tales of the Cocktail for having us! We hope to see you next year.