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For this week's TBT recipes, we go liquid. I am a big fan of making syrups and then incorporating them in sensational cocktials, cocktails that do rival the best any mixologist can muster. The lemon-honey syrup is the perfect match for bourbon, yielding a beverage that is sweet, biting and bold. Here's the post from last spring:

We were at a lovely cocktail bar with a vast view of the city. I first did what I always do first: I took out my camera and captured the cocktail menu. I had my eye on one particular combination, and I thought I might want to duplicate it back home. After testing the cocktail that night, I could not wait to test my chemistry abilities.

Have you ever tried that? Getting a list of cocktail components, but not their proportions, and then tried to reverse engineer the cocktail you loved that night before? It’s not easy. If one of the components is honey syrup, how much do you use: some drops, a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a lot?

I have not been able to duplicate that original cocktail at all. In fact, I even got sidetracked and made this lemon-honey syrup instead of just honey syrup. Yet going down my own pathway here, I have created a cocktail with wonderful flavor, one that announces itself with the first sip. Hence, the name “Jolt.” It’s a good, enjoyable, bourbon jolt, and the recipes is below.

This cocktail can match any $18 or $20 beverage you’ll find in an upscale Manhattan cocktail bar.

Care, of course, must be exercised when making this honey syrup. I actually used a honey cream, a solid mixture, from a local vendor in the Catskills. You might prefer a honey overpowered with the scent of, say, lavender, but I prefer a strong yet neutral honey flavor.

The little flakes in the picture above are the lemon zest that can float and swim without harm. You’ll want to leave them in the syrup and not filter them out.

What else can you employ this syrup for? Pound cake!

Lemon-Honey Syrup

Yield: 1 cup


  • ½ cup honey, preferably cream
  • ½ cup water
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon


Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk to mix. Turn on the heat to medium and bring just to a boil. Then allow to simmer on low heat for three minutes.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑400

Brian’s Bourbon Honey Jolt

Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces good bourbon
  • 2 ounces lemon-honey syrup
  • 1 ounce Yellow Chartreuse


Place all three ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, very vigorously for a minute. You need to chill this beverage and get a uniform mixture. The syrup is quite viscous so some energy is needed for a proper mix.

Source: Brian O’Rourke