For the hostess who knows who runs the show.

Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

We fully advocate for having a statement drink when hosting a party, and there’s no cocktail that makes an impression more than one named the Queen Bee.

Unlike traditional cocktails like the Sazerac or an Old Fashioned, there isn’t a strict recipe for the Queen Bee. The only must-have element is honey, hence the name. With it’s deep sweetness, honey, unlike sugar, plays well with any spirit and provides a syrupy counterpoint to stronger flavors like those from herbs, peppers, or spices.

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Here are two different ways to get your buzz on. The only make-ahead preparation you need to do is make a honey syrup, but don’t worry it’s easy. Just bring 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of water to a boil, turn the heat off, and let cool. This syrup is easier to stir into cocktails than adding straight honey, which can coagulate in cold liquids.

Queen Bee with Whiskey

1½ oz bourbon
¾ oz dry sherry
¾ oz honey syrup
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Shake first four ingredients and 1 sprig rosemary together in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with remaining sprig of rosemary.

Queen Bee with Gin

2 oz. gin 
½ oz. honey syrup
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. Jack Rudy Classic Tonic Syrup
4 to 5 oz. club soda

Stir first four ingredients together and pour into glass with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with lemon or lime rind twist.