This post is part of a partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about my favorite purveyor of organic herbs & spices here.
Happy National Bourbon Day!
Today I’m celebrating America’s whiskey and the fact that it’s almost (officially) summer with a pitcher of bourbon-spiked chamomile and bee pollen honeybush iced tea. This stuff tastes like a gloriously lazy summer afternoon and pairs perfectly with my honey spice cookies, glazed with lemon icing and topped with tasty bee pollen.
Bee pollen is a really interesting ingredient that’s been used throughout history as food and as a health supplement, touted as a powerful panacea by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese. There hasn’t been much research done in the US to show what benefits there are to consuming bee pollen, but a recent study in Spain showed that bee pollen contains very high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds like quercetin. Bee pollen does contain a ton of vitamins, including all of the B vitamins, which is why some call it ‘nature’s perfect food’.
Health and science aside, it’s pretty damn tasty! Bee pollen tastes like rich, concentrated honey, flowers, and earth, a uniquely bittersweet flavor. This unusual flavor profile is what inspired me to use it in a cocktail, and what better to pair it with than the mild, green and floral flavor of chamomile blossoms. This combination of flavors is like the month of June in a syrup – fresh and vibrant with a warm, honeyed sweetness. You can find organic bee pollen and organic chamomile blossoms at Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite place to shop for herbs and other botanical ingredients.
Baking is another one of my passions, and ever since I learned a fail-proof cookie formula (1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, 3 parts flour), I find it so fun and easy to try new ingredient combinations and experiment with new cookie recipes. When I started working on this Bourbon Day cocktail, and wanted to make it in a pitcher for a group, I knew I needed to pair it with a tasty little hors d’oeuvre. And voila – tea and cookies!
Chamomile + Bee Pollen Honeybush Bourbon Tea
(For a Group)
6 tbsp loose organic honeybush tea
8 oz (1 cup) boiling water
28 oz (1 3/4 cups) cold water
4.5 oz (just under 1/3 cup) chamomile and bee pollen syrup*
3 oz (just under 1/4 cup) lemon juice
9 oz (just over 1/2 cup) bourbon
Lemons for slicing
Large mesh tea ball
Glass measuring cup
Boil 8 oz of water and pour over 6 tbsp of honeybush tea in a glass measuring cup. Let steep until cooled. It’s easiest if you have a large mesh tea ball, but you can also just steep the loose tea in the measuring cup and then strain it through a mesh strainer into your pitcher. Once cooled, pour the tea into your pitcher and add 28 oz of cold water. Add the lemon juice, syrup, and bourbon, and stir well. Add slices of lemon and ice, and enjoy! You can also opt to not add the bourbon to the pitcher, and instead add 1.5 oz bourbon to each glass individually and top up with iced tea.
Chamomile + Bee Pollen Syrup
Large glass measuring cup or heat proof bowl
In a large glass measuring cup or heat proof bowl, place 1 tbsp of bee pollen. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the bee pollen and stir to dissolve. Add 1/4 cup honey and 3/4 white sugar and stir until he sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of chamomile blossoms, stir, and let the mixture sit, covered, for at least 30 minutes, or as long as it takes to make your honey spice cookies. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bottle and store in the fridge. Use within 3 weeks. You can optionally add 2 oz of vodka to help the syrup keep a bit longer.
Chamomile + Bee Pollen Bourbon Tea: Recipe For One
.75 oz chamomile and bee pollen syrup
.50 oz lemon juice
6 oz cooled honeybush tea (1 tbsp tea per 6 oz water)
Spiced Honey Cookies with Lemon Icing + Bee Pollen
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
2 cups (300g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/4 cup (50g) honey
1/2 cup (100g) butter
1/2 cup (100g) coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl mix until incorporated. I don’t have a stand mixer and typically just mix my dough by hand (crazy, I know!). I would typically add 1 tsp of baking powder to a cookie recipe like this, but I forgot to add it when making these, and they came out great! So it’s not critical in this recipe. Shape dough into balls about 1 ¼ inches. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges start to brown. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Lemon Icing with Bee Pollen
2 cups confectioners sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp bee pollen
Add sugar to a large bowl and slowly add lemon juice while mixing until a desired consistency is reached. Spread onto cooled cookies and sprinkle with bee pollen. Enjoy with a tall glass of bourbon iced tea and your closest friends or family!