In 2011, Caledonia Spirits began distilling gin, vodka, and an elderberry cordial in the distillery in the North East Kingdom. And since that time, they become well known for their Barr Hill Gin, their Tom Cat Gin, which is aged in American oak, and their Barr Hill Vodka. What do they all have in common? If the raw beeswax seal on each bottle doesn’t give it away, then certainly the flavor will. The answer is of course… Honey. Raw Honey. Caledonia says their spirits are “landcrafted in Vermont,” and it’s true. They use local grains and the raw honey used in their spirits is regionally sourced.
Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food. They pollinate 80% of the world’s plants and more than 90 different kinds of food crops.
Have a Cocktail & Help the Bees
For the fifth year in a row, Caledonia Spirits highlights the importance of honeybees for our food and farms with Bee’s Knees Week (September 24th - October 3rd).
This year, the goals of Bee’s Knees Week are to plant 500,000 square feet (11.5 acres) of bee habitat across the U.S. and enlist 2,000 participating bars, restaurants and stores to promote the initiative.
Barr Hill Gin is inviting lovers of pollinators and the Bee’s Knees cocktail to simply post a photo of the honeyed Prohibition-era drink to social media using the hashtag #beeskneesweek and tagging @barrhillgin. For every photo posted, Barr Hill Gin partners with one of several non-profit organizations located throughout the U.S. to plant 10 square feet of pollinator habitat at the company’s expense.
- 950 participating venues (bars, restaurants, retailers)
- 7,430 Bee's Knees cocktails shared on social media
- 74,300 square ft. of bee habitat planted
We spoke with Sophia Light of Caledonia Spirits to learn more about Bee’s Knees Week.
How did Caledonia Spirits come up with Bee’s Knees Week?
Our distillery was founded by a beekeeper, Todd Hardie, which is why we incorporate raw honey into each of our spirits and the reason we are so passionate about honey bees. Unfortunately, honey bee colonies are suffering due to a wide variety of human and environmental factors. Bee's Knees Week is a way to create meaningful conversation around the importance of honey bees in our food system, threats to bees, and how we can work together to help.
How has Bee’s Knees Week grown and what’s been the reception?
It's been really well received because there is a heightened level of awareness that the honey bee population is struggling and colony collapse is real. People understand the importance of honey bees in our food systems as the primary pollinators of much of the food and drink that we consume. People want to help and don't always know how; Bee's Knees Week is a fun platform for creating solutions and conversation around this important issue.
Make sure you get out and support our honeybees by ordering a Bee's Knees cocktail or making one of your own. You can find your nearest participating Bee's Knees Week location here.
And, if you'd like to make a Bee’s Knees cocktail for you and your friends, here’s the recipe: Be sure to post the picture of your cocktail and tag
The Bar Hill Bee’s Knees
2 oz Barr Hill Gin
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
Lemon for garnish
Lavender (added garnish - optional)
To a shaker filled with ice, add gin, lemon juice, honey syrup, and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish. * For the honey syrup - dissolve 2 part raw honey in 1 part warm water. This is a chance for you to meet your nearest beekeeper and use local honey.
Whether you visit one of the Bee's Knees Week venues for a cocktail or if you make it at home, once you have a taste of the Bee's Knees, you’ll know that it’s the cat’s pajamas.
We recommend planning a trip to the Montpelier area to visit the Bar Hill Distillery for a cocktail and tour of their facilities.