What’s old is new again – especially when it comes to cocktails. Named for the iconic Brown Derby restaurants in mid-century Los Angeles, the Brown Derby cocktail epitomizes Hollywood’s Golden Age and is a classic mix in bars across America.
With two of my favorite ingredients: bourbon and grapefruit, sweetened by nature’s golden elixir – honey, you have a simple, classic drink that recalls the roaring ’20s in all its glory.
Naturally, you want fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and grapefruits are in season now! You also want fine quality bourbon and pure, high quality honey. I used Savannah Bee honey which is like a fine wine that is created from flowers instead of grapes. I’ve tasted their honeys at the Natural Products Expo West and came across them again at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco where they were highlighting their Honey for Cheese and Whipped Honeys.
You know how a truly great cheese board always includes honey? That’s because honey’s sweet flavor complements cheese in a way that makes your palate sing. Try it with a creamy, tangy Roquefort, salty Manchego or an aged Gouda – heavenly!
Yum! Honeycomb with Manchego cheese
And it is perfect for making honey syrup too!
Brown Derby Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. grapefruit juice
- ½ oz. honey syrup*
- Bar tools: shaker strainer
- Glass: Old Fashioned rocks glass
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into an ice-filled glass.
* Just as with simple syrup the ratio for honey syrup is 1:1. Combine 1 cup honey and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature and transfer to a clean glass jar. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
I prefer a little less sweet and use 3/4 cup honey to 1 cup water. If you are only making 1-2 cocktails, heat 1/4 cup honey and stir in 3 tablespoons of honey. Heating the water in a microwave, then stirring in tablespoons of honey works, too.
About Savannah Bee Honey
More about Savannah Bee honey: Their varietal honeys – honey gathered from a single type of blossom – are the best of the best of artisan Tupelo Honey, Sourwood Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Wildflower Honey and Acacia Honey harvests. Each type of nectar has its own flavor and sugar composition depending on the flower that produces it, therefore the honey reflects the unique taste of the bloom. Savannah Bee Company is the leader in honey purity standards – they don’t process, over filter, or add add anything at all, the pride they take in producing a premium product is evident in their honeys’ flavor and purity. Any honey poured by Savannah Bee Company as a specialty varietal honey must have a minimum of 80% pollen count, which ensures that the honey exhibits the best flavor and texture possible from the blossom crop.
Brown Derby photo credit: Old LA Restaurants
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, but thank Savannah Bee for their hospitality and delicious honey samples. I own all opinions expressed.