The Cocktail Column: Spotlight – Bee’s Knees

As a relatively low-key blog, we don’t get many invitations or interactions on social media. That makes it all the more important to respond when they do come. Such as when the recently-opened cocktail bar Olive in Southampton invited Expensive Tastes to their soft opening last Thursday. Of course, these days, it’s just me, but I did manage to get our regular guest reviewers Dan Gibson and Jack Tunney in as my team for the evening.

When I received the invite, I imagined that other local bloggers and industry professionals had been as well! I was quite wrong – it seemed to be a mix of locals, both young and old. But no one I recognised from either the restaurant or the blogging scene. Their opening had already been marred with problems, causing a two-hour delay. So much so, I feel it would be unfair to do a full-scale bar review based on our experience. So, instead, I’m going to focus purely on the cocktail that Dan, Jack and I were able to sample. The Bee’s Knees (see pictured).

The Bee’s Knees – Silverback Gin, Lemon and Honey

This was one of two cocktails (out of a menu of 18 choices) that were being given away as free samples that night; the other being a Silverback Negroni, as you might imagine, the classic Negroni cocktail made with a Silverback Gin base. I cannot stand Campari, myself, so the much sweeter Bee’s Knees – again, made with the Silverback Gin, plus honey and lemon, was far more appealing. Between the three of us, opinions were quite divided. While it was not unpleasant in taste, neither I nor Dan detected any honey, making it basically little more than a gin and lemonade in a champagne coupe. Jack was a bit more scathing about the flavours, quipping it was more reminiscent of crushed-up paracetamol. With the addition of gin, basically a suicide bid in a glass. An assessment I felt was a little extreme.

The overall evaluation – be a little heavier on the honey to give this cocktail a little extra flavour factor. Otherwise, customers are paying £8 for a drop of gin and a squeeze of lemon juice.

From their social media, I know the Bee’s Knees was otherwise a popular choice. However, the most interesting cocktail on that menu has to be what they call The Dublin Flip, a lethal-sounding marriage of two rums, Guinness, maple syrup, angostura bitters and a whole egg. Not my cup of tea, probably, but go try it for the experience!

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