Binny's Home Bartender: Bee is For Brandy

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What do you get when you cross The Bee's Knees1 and a Brandy Crusta? A crusty kneed bee? A besotted beehive? Colony Carousing Syndrome? Six legged sots, three sheets to the wind? A honeybee bacchanal? We could drone on endlessly, but we should just make a beeline to the answer. 

Let’s just start with the fact that The Bee’s Knees is a prohibition era riff on a gin sour with honey replacing sugar. Classic and refreshing. The Brandy Crusta is even older, dating to the mid 1800s. It’s the precursor to the 100 plus year-old Sidecar, which would also be an apt comparison. Or is this a Brandy Gold Rush that we dragged through an orange grove? One thing we can likely agree on is that cocktail recipes are all about cross-pollination. 

We encourage the use of orange blossom honey but it’s not a must. In any case, make your honey syrup by heating two parts honey and one part water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir, just until the honey has melted.  

We are also using a couple of fine products from Suau2, located on the Spanish island of Mallorca3. For the orange liqueur, Suau uses aromatic oranges from Soller, in the island’s famed valley of citrus groves, to infuse their brandy. Suau’s  Eight Year Solera Brandy is slightly sweet, fruity and eminently mixable. Put the two together, balance with honey syrup, fresh lemon juice and a couple dashes of bitters and you get Bee is for Brandy. It is traditional to crust the rim of the glass with sugar for the Brandy Crusta, thus the name. Sugar is fine, but for this nectar, add a little colorful flair by using lemon sugar. 

There should be a big buzz about this delicious drink, an uproar in the apiary, a cacophony in the comb. Bee that as it may, mix this up after a long day as a worker bee and you will soon find yourself waggle dancing, pinpointing the exact Mediterranean coordinates of Mallorca. 

Thoraces up! 


Simple Steps: 

  1. Rim a cocktail coupe with lemon sugar.
  2. Add brandy, orange liqueur, lemon juice, honey syrup, and bitters to a shaker with ice.  
  3. Shake until well-chilled.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist. 


  1. Can bees cross their knees? Would they if Slim Harpo was in town? Old blues fans know what we’re talking about. 
  2. You probably don’t need to be a spelling bee champion, but you might need a pronunciation key for Saua. Say Sue-ow. 
  3. Mallorca is experiencing the same problems with colony collapse syndrome as the rest of the world. In an effort to increase the island's population the “B Project was started in 2020 and has resulted in 37 new colonies with over two million bees. That’s a lot of pollinators for the orange groves and every other flowering plant that relies on these essential insects.