pear + chamomile bee’s knees with cinnamon-honey syrup | with a vegan option

cocktails, drinks, fruits, gin, winter

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I’ve been meaning to share this floral, spring-inspired twist on the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail for several weeks now. Back in January, I made a batch of pear- and cinnamon-infused gin, and I forgot all about it, leaving it to hang out in my fridge before even straining it. I’ve been guilty of forgetting projects before. When I stumbled across my unlabeled jar the other day, I cracked the lid only to discover a hazy, unappetizing shade of brown and a way-too-concentrated flavor for the delicate, floral cocktail I had in mind.

So, I tossed that batch, moved on, and made another go of it. This time it was perfectly balanced in flavor and just the right shade of pale gold. I also labeled it and gave myself a pat on the back for doing so. My boyfriend {er, fiancé – I’m still not used to saying it!} gets so bothered with me because I never remember to label my concoctions. I always figure I’ll remember what’s inside the jars, but unless it’s a giveaway shade of strawberry pink, I don’t. Instead, we spend time opening unlabeled jars, smelling them, dotting and nosing small portions on our fingers, or going all-in and boldly giving the unknown liquid a sip.

Why do I rebel so much at taking the time to label something properly? I mean, all it takes is a piece of masking tape and a Sharpie. This time around, I won’t have to guess what’s in this particular jar, but I don’t think that this infusion will even make it that long. I’ve been mixing it with tonic or simply adding an ounce or so to a glass of bubbly.

So good.

pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora

I’m currently sitting outside in the backyard garden, writing this post on my laptop. The weather here in Denver has been exquisitely gorgeous as of late: the tulips are popping, our crabapple trees are bursting with fragrant, white blossoms, and the chives and sorrel are sprouting up with vigor. There is nothing like the energy I get with spring’s arrival.

Except when we get a rogue snowstorm in the middle of those sunny, warm days, or when I allow my indoor Meyer lemon tree to contract powdery mildew and lose all of its fruit before they’ve grown even an inch in size. Yeah, I said goodbye to the ones I hand-pollinated with a paintbrush in the late fall. I shed a tear. Another lesson in letting go and moving on. If you ever need lessons like that, just try gardening for a year. Those ups and downs, those successes and failures, those bounties and busts. Gardening is a teacher for all of those.

….thank you.

pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & floraInfusing your spirits – whiskey, gin, vodka, or whatever you’re sipping on – is one way to really amp up the flavor in your cocktails. I consistently have an infused simple syrup in rotation, but having an infused spirit on hand adds another dimension of creativity, and you can add as much or as little sugar, as you’d like. The flavor is already there in the spirit.

Pears and dried chamomile flowers take center stage, and both of those share characteristics that marry perfectly with the piney, citrus-driven notes in most gins. I first found inspiration for the pear and chamomile combination from a post over at Punk Domestics, via Pam Greer of Grey is the New Black. I used Aviation’s gin. This Oregon-made gin is floral and citrusy and easy on the juniper note. It’s just perfect here.

pear + chamomile gin

  • 1 cup gin {I used Aviation}
  • 1/2 pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/8 cup dried chamomile flowers
  1. In a mason jar, combine the gin, diced pear, and dried chamomile flowers. Seal tightly.
  2. Give the mixture a good shake and store in the fridge for 3 days, shaking whenever you think about it.
  3. I liked the flavor of this particular infusion on day 3, but taste along the way. Depending upon the ripeness of your pear or intensity of your chamomile flowers, you may need another day or so to yield the results you want.
  4. Once you have just the right flavor, strain off the solids through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer and transfer into a clean mason jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • The infused gin will keep indefinitely. I like to keep mine chilled {and labeled!} in the refrigerator, but you may store yours alongside the other spirits in your bar cart.
  • You can source dried chamomile flowers online at Mountain Rose Herbs or locally here in Denver at Apothecary Tinctura. It’s a breath of fresh air on Cherry Creek’s historic 6th Avenue.

pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora

Alright. I hope you are grabbing all of the citrus out there and drying it, preserving it, marmalading it, jamming it, juicing it, pickling it, as fast as you can. Do yourself a favor and make one of these, while you’re making that Meyer lemon curd or studying up on crafting the best winter citrus marmalade. If you can, use fresh Meyer lemons in this recipe. They are a little softer in acidity and intensity, and they mesh amazingly with the cinnamon-honey syrup and fruity gin infusion.

I’ll save you the history lesson on this classic cocktail, since I already wrote about it here. I will add, however, that I searched all over the interwebs for a vegan rendition for a classic Bee’s Knees cocktail, and I couldn’t find one. If you want to enjoy this cocktail, sans honey, just make an agave nectar simple syrup. You’ll still get the same, savory, cinnamon-driven notes, without deviating from your diet or conscience. See the notes in the cinnamon-honey syrup below.

pear + chamomile bee’s knees with cinnamon-honey syrup

  • 2 ounces pear + chamomile gin {recipe above}
  • 3/4 ounce cinnamon-honey syrup {recipe below}
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • dried or fresh Meyer lemon wheels, for garnish
  1. In a mixing tin, combine the infused gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice. Add a generous helping of ice and shake well, until cold and frothy.
  2. Strain the shaken cocktail into a chilled coupe.
  3. Garnish with a dried Meyer lemon wheel or use a freshly sliced version, instead.
  • This recipe yields one cocktail.
  • I also like to add a splash of sparkling wine to this cocktail, if I have some on hand. It gives the drink a little extra “pop.” Anderson Valley’s Roederer Estate reigns supremely, here.

cinnamon-honey syrup

  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  1. In a saucepan, combine the honey, water, and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to low, letting the cinnamon sticks steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool. Once the honey syrup has cooled, remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.
  4. Store the honey syrup in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • For a vegan substitution, swap the honey for raw agave nectar and follow the same directions. I prefer using agave nectar instead of a simple syrup because the flavors in agave nectar are so similar to the rich, complex, nuttier notes found in honey.

Have a spectacular week ahead! I’m celebrating my birthday all day tomorrow and lying low on social media. I’m beyond ready to detach and unplug and veg to a movie or get a run in on the trail. Cheers to spring’s arrival in a couple of days!! I’ll close with a few snippets from our garden. The tulips, lilacs, and crocuses are all popping up. We’ll be cleaning up the fall garden tomorrow and prepping for spring-sowing this upcoming week.

How is your garden looking? Do you have any plans for this spring? We are still deciding between buying young tomato plants and starting from seed. It’s always a labor of love to start from seed, indoors. Do you ever find it worth it?

Big Xs and Os and hopes for no more snow,


everything will change
if you say “yes, yes!” today
“yes!” to the op’ning

via the Daily Sacred Act, MoonDance Botanicals of Denver

pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora DSC_5pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora pear + chamomile bee's knees with honey syrup | holly & flora

  1. What a glorious recipe! I can imagine the flavors and so wish I had a pear to do this infusion! Thank you for the recipe! !

    • Noelle, thanks so much! 🙂 You could totally make the infusion with just the chamomile flowers, too. I’ve made a batch with just the flowers, and it is perfect with the gin, honey, and lemon juice. I hope you enjoyed your first day of spring. I definitely stayed outside for most of my day. XO!

  2. Susan says:

    My goodness, that looks lovely. I have some hay fever-related issues with chamomile, but I may have to give this infusion a shot anyhow. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I have a similar issue with the hops in IPAs, Susan. I finally made the correlation a little over a year ago. I would have the worst allergic reactions – hay fever in style – with accompanying headaches. I’d have one IPA, and I could see its immediate effect. Oh, well. This particular infusion a good one, for sure. The flavors just pair up perfectly.

      …And sometimes, it’s just worth the reaction for the pleasure of the taste. 😉 I’ve definitely had an IPA since my discovery – they’re just too good! Happy spring to you!!

      • Susan says:

        I was just talking with a customer about this yesterday, mostly related to the sulfite myth. Same here for me with some IPAs (but not all). I got migraines up until my early 40s, and some red wines (particularly some BDX and sud ouest) would just “smell” like an oncoming headache to me (olfactory auras — not the more typical visual ones — often preceded my migraines). Later, after some time in the somm world, I figured out that those trigger wines tended to come from very iron-rich terroir. I suspect now I probably detecting that iron and, because I also tended to get a bloody nose whenever I got a migraine (and was probably “smelling” my own blood in those minutes before a headache), I associated that meaty, iron-y smell with an imminent, bad episode. Ain’t the body amazing?

  3. Colorado weather is the straight-up wackiest.

    This is the most beautiful spring cocktail. You are just killing it my friend. xx

    • It IS the wackiest. It’s 70 right now, and we have snow on the books for Wednesday. I just want some consistency! And thanks SO much, Sherrie!

      Your blackberry Negroni is on the books sometime this week, too! XOXO

  4. […] المصدر: pear + chamomile bee’s knees with cinnamon-honey syrup | with a vegan option […]

  5. […] Pear and Chamomille Bee’s Knees with Cinnamon Honey Syrup–this would make happy hour that much happier. […]

  6. Everything about this drink is just so dreamy. I adore the classic Bee’s Knees (though I do make them with sage or meyer lemon or whatnot depending on the season). But the syrup + that infused gin? It just sounds so sophisticated!

    • Aida, I’ve totally gone the sage route, and it is SOOOO good! #keepitfancy 😉 And, girl, I want inside your backpack during your next trip to HI. You know, for morale and baggage-carrying and, well, cocktail-making, lolz!

  7. Oh my goodness woman this sounds incredible!!! I fell in love with the bee’s knees cocktail last spring, so this sounds amazing. I have some pears on my counter and some gin in my liquor collection, so I’m probably going to give this a go. I don’t have straight up chamomile, but I have a bedtime tea with some mint, lavender and chamomile, etc. – do you think that would work out okay?

    • Sara, I am always a fan of making whatever you have on hand work. I think that a “sleepy time” tea would be just perfect with these spring flavors. Just taste along the way, during the infusion time. I even think that the added complexity would be even more delicious! Let me know how it turns out for you! And aren’t those Bee’s Knees cocktails THE best? I’ve even tossed an egg white into the mix for the most amazing texture play. Have FUN!!! XO!

  8. So I finally got around to infusing some gin the other day, and tonight I made a quick version of this (with plain honey syrup I already had in the fridge), and it was SOOO GOOOOD. Thanks for the idea!!! I never would have thought to infuse gin like this but now my head is spinning with ideas. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts!


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