In the throws of winter we all wait with baited, frosted breath. For…for citrus season! Odd that the time of year most noted in our nipped noses and frosty cheeks would then lend a gesture of the sublime. Citrus season brings oddities and anomalies, otherworldly shapes, singular intense aromas, all of them bright and able to cut the cold.
In February we brought in whole fresh, kumquats, meyer & pink lemons, and bergamots. We then macerated them each separately in grain spirit for months, through snow and spring, straining them off just this summer. The result are three equally expressive, wildly different takes on the category of a ‘Sec’ liqueur.
So it goes most people don't get to taste much Bergamot beyond, let's say, Earl Grey Tea. The fruit looks like an awkward lime, spotty and wonky. With garden aromatics and an intense geranium bitter. Bergamot is fleeting, if you manage to find some, often it’s not much. The Forward ≠ Future was an extremely limited batch, a few dozen bottles. Moving forward we think of this as an ever evolving line-up of liqueurs. Some special moments, custom tools for you to add to your cocktail bag.
The Bergamot Sec by itself is a no-brainer. It's assertive, aromatic, with a sligth bitter and an infinite finish. Smartly, those qualities make for a perfect mixing base. The Primates series are slightly sweetened, but not too sweet, making them the perfect base to sub out in a traditional cocktail. And then maybe add some extra jazz for the soul.
That leads us to the Bee's Knees. Generally, honey tends to dominate a given cocktail. Appropriately this classic features gin, one of the few spirits that can sting back at honey. A simple swap out for Bergamot Sec is easy peasy. The grip and floral citrus of the Bergamot can shine in this bold sour. Add a little sage to the shaker tin, cause it's summer, and sage loves honey. Up or on the rocks this one is a perfect post gardening cooler, or porch sitter over some nice cut grass.
2 ounces Bergamot Sec
.75 ounce Lemon Juice
.5 ounce Honey Syrup*
In a cocktail shaker combine ingredients. Shake until you can barely hear those cubes rattle. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Sage garnish!
*Combine 1 cup raw honey and 1/2 cup water. Stir until incorporated. If you have trouble with the honey, try resting the sealed bottle in a warm water bath for 20 minutes before mixing.