Drink a Cocktail To Save the Bees
Bee's Knees Week helps grow important pollinator habitats
Here’s an unsettling fact: If bees perish, our food runs out. According to Food and Water Watch, “bees are responsible for one of every four bites of food that we eat. Losing them would be a disaster.” Unfortunately, the world’s bee population — and that of other pollinators like butterflies — is decreasing rapidly.
Bee’s Knees Week was started six years ago to help raise funds and bring awareness to the plight of the bees, to do something tangible to help what Barr Hill Gin marketing director Harry Kahn calls, “the angels of agriculture.”
“You might purchase organic food, you might purchase only items with sustainable packaging,” he says, “but when you go to the bar, you give yourself a free pass most of the time.” Kahn says his company is trying to change that, starting with the honey bee.
Vermont-based Caledonia Spirits which makes Barr Hill Gin, was founded by beekeeper, Todd Hardie, utilizing honey in the process. Unlike most gins that have dozens of botanicals, juniper is the only botanical used in the distilling process. The other rich floral notes come from local honey.
“Ours is a single botanical gin. Ryan Christiansen, president and head distiller, uses heaps of juniper, then add raw honey from local apiaries within a 250-mile radius from our distillery in Vermont,” says Kahn. “We don’t know the journey the bees go on. We’re just trying to capture that botanical richness.”
Bees, notes Kahn, are an integral part of our cocktail experience. “All the fresh citrus requires for a great cocktail would go away without pollinators.”
Bee’s Knees Week, which starts September 23 and runs through October 2, is a way for people to get involved simply by enjoying a Bee’s Knees cocktail.
There are 2,500 participating restaurants, bars, and bottle shops throughout the world participating in Bee’s Knees Week. Just enjoy a Bee’s Knees cocktail (or make one yourself at home) and post the picture to Instagram, using #beeskneesweek and tag @barrhillgin.
For every photo of a Bee’s Knees cocktail, Caledonia Spirits will plant ten square feet of pollinator habitat. Last year, 200,000 square feet of native plants were planted. The goal for this year is 300,000 square feet of pollinator habitat (that’s 30,000 posts on social media).
To accomplish the planting goal, the distillery partnered with Bee the Change, an organization that plants native plants around solar fields in the Northeast.
To find a bar near you participating in Bee’s Knees Week, visit beeskneesweek.com. And consider making a Bee’s Knees at home with this recipe courtesy of Barr Hill Gin.
Bee’s Knees Cocktail
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz raw honey syrup (2 parts honey to 1 part hot water. Let cool.)
lemon twist garnish
Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice, shake, then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.