Around the World in 60 Cocktails: Pure Strain

In the prohibition era, if something was the bee’s knees, then it was considered the best (that’s if it wasn’t already the cat’s pijamas). So popular was this saying that there was even a cocktail named after it: a gin, lemon and honey classic that is still fashionable today.

While America was experimenting with groovy new slang, all the way on the other side of the world, Australia was working hard to preserve its bee population. In the 1880s Ligurian bees had been introduced to Kangaroo Island by Italian beekeepers to protect their genetic integrity, and because of the island’s isolation, absence of indigenous bee species, and ample flowers, (not to mention Mediterranean-style climate), the bees thrived without the disease or interbreeding that normally plagues apiaries. Today the island off the coast of South Australia is home to the last purebred Ligurian bees.

This cocktail uses the world-famous honey that gets its distinctive taste from the synergy between the Italian bee population and the thriving native fauna they feast on. Blended with Amaro Nonino Quintessentia grappa, the resulting cocktail is elegant and balanced, laden with the beautiful herbal aromatics.

In other words, it’s the bee’s knees!


  • 2 bsp Honey syrup (3:1)*
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 1 oz Nonino Grappa


  • 3 parts honey
  • 1 part boiling water

How to Prepare:

  1. Wash an amarena cherry garnish
  2. Chill a coupe with ice & put to one side
  3. Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker
  4. Top with cubed ice & hard shake for 10 seconds
  5. Open & dip taste
  6. Discard ice from coupe
  7. Fine strain and serve