Adding an Oktoberfest brew to the Bees' Knees gives you beer knees 

Remix: fresh takes on classic cocktails

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG
  • PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG

Sometimes the Remix muse likes to play hide-and-seek. When I first started thinking about what cocktail to mess with in October, we were in the throes of putting together Fall Guide, our annual compendium of events happening between the last week of September and the last week of November. After page after page studded with what seemed like a thousand Oktoberfest events, it came to me that whatever classic I took on, I ought to add beer to it (and not just any beer, but a traditional Oktoberfest Märzenbier brew).

Then, as I read through the art listings, I noticed that Redlight Redlight – site of a five-night Oktoberfest in September complete with lederhosen, currywurst and a stein-hoisting competition – was also hosting Bee Kind, a pollinator-themed art show. And then, I read that September is National Honey Month, celebrating the end of honey collection for most beekeepers in the U.S. – which means October is a great month to enjoy honey. Hmmm … a honey cocktail? The only one I’d heard of is a Jazz Age gin-based classic called the Bee’s Knees. Too perfect! Beer knees it is! I thought. (After I mixed the drink, I gave a cursory Google and found I wasn’t the first clever bear to come up with that name, though I didn’t run across any recipes exactly like mine.)

I stuck closely to the original mix, tinkering only with proportions and, of course, adding that tasty amber Märzen brew. I used an easily obtainable, not-too-dark Spaten, but should you want a lighter, brighter cocktail, try this Remix with a coriander-scented witbier like Hoegaarden or Wittekerke instead.

Despite the addition of beer, it’s a refined concotion; get out your nicest stemmed coupe glass for this one.

CLASSIC

2 ounces gin
1 ounce honey syrup
1 ounce lemon juice

First, make the honey syrup: Whisk together equal parts of honey and warm water in a small saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, then let stand off heat until the mixture comes to room temperature. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate.

Pour gin, honey syrup and lemon juice into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

REMIXED

1 ounce gin, chilled
1 ounce honey syrup, chilled
1 ounce lemon juice, chilled
2.5 ounces cold Märzen-style beer, like Spaten

It’s important that all the ingredients are chilled, since this drink is neither shaken with nor served over ice. (While you’re at it, put the glass in the fridge too.) Combine the gin, honey syrup and lemon juice in a mixing glass and stir with a bar spoon. Pour in the beer, then transfer the mixture to a chilled stemmed glass. If you’re the sort for a fancy garnish, a sprig of lavender or a lemon-peel spiral wouldn’t be out of place.

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