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What: Beehive, with Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, saffron honey syrup, lemon, broken lemon vinaigrette, and honeycomb
Where: Trummer’s on Main, 7134 Main St., Clifton; (703) 266-1623; trummersonmain.com
What You Should Be Drinking: Saffron is the ingredient that gives paella its signature bright yellow color and hard-to-define flavor that leans sweet and floral. Co-owner and mixologist Stefan Trummer steeps the prized (and pricey) fine threads in honey and water to make a sweetening agent that’s also subtly earthy. He combines the syrup with lemon juice and Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, a delicate gin from Sonoma, California, whose botanical formula includes juniper, lemon, sage, lavender, and cucumber. Trummer also makes a broken lemon vinaigrette—so named because it’s gently stirred rather than whipped or emulsified—from a mixture of lemon juice and zest, sugar, eggs, and butter that’s boiled, cooled, and stirred with olive oil. The drink is shaken, strained, and garnished with skewered honeycomb and a drizzle of more broken vinaigrette.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: Unlike the Prohibition-era cocktail, the Bee’s Knees, which utilized lemon and honey to hide the sting of bathtub gin, the Beehive is all about showing off fresh citrus and light, bright flavors. “I love the use of honey and wanted to create a beautiful cocktail…[that] incorporates as many floral components as possible,” Trummer says. The gin is complex, saffron gives it florality, and honey lends sweetness and a creamy texture that are both tempered by the lemon. “The honeycomb adds a fragrance—you smell it every time you take a sip—and the broken vinaigrette adds more citrus and aroma.” Find the drink on the “reserve” section of Trummer’s inventive cocktail menu among other splurge drinks with rare, expensive ingredients, and consider sipping it while nibbling on parmesan popcorn or Rappahannock oysters.