Nothing wrong with going back to basics at this cozy, Burlington neighborhood pub.

Classics are classics for a reason. So when we stepped into Church Street Tavern in Burlington, Vermont and bartender Albert Brown offered us a Bee’s Knees, we simply couldn’t say no. So now we’re taking in the scene at this inviting neighbourhood pub, amongst a low-key lunch crowd, and watching eagerly as Albert juices a lemon and makes fresh honey syrup right in front of us.

“Vermont is a huge beer state, so we serve a lot of beer here,” Albert explains. “But we get asked for cocktails every so often, especially now that more speakeasy-type bars are opening up in town and people are getting into it.”

Albert Brown makes a classic Bee's Knees at Church St Tavern in Burlington, Vermont

That Church Street Tavern is known for its beer selection, and not its cocktails, means that Albert has to juice lemons, or make a quick simple or honey syrup to order, but he assures us that he doesn’t mind. For one, the drink is far more delicious that way. For another, it gives him the time to chat and to perform—two facets of bartending he is quite keen on.

There is something endearing about Albert. He is young and enthusiastic, still on the up in this industry, not yet weighed down with years of dealing with unreasonable customers, his hands not yet worn from years of sanitizer solution and gallons of cut citrus. He makes his cocktails with precision and care—he is eager to do right by them.

Albert Brown makes a classic Bee's Knees at Church St Tavern in Burlington, Vermont

In fact, he’d recently just learned about the Prohibition-era Bee’s Knees cocktail, and knew that Brockmans would make a perfect fit for it.

“Simple syrup is too, well, simple, sometimes, and because there are so many different interesting, herbal notes in gin, I realised that honey was a much better pairing for it.”

Albert Brown makes a classic Bee's Knees at Church St Tavern in Burlington, Vermont

Who are we to argue? Our mouths begin to water as he shakes, strains, and garnishes his drink with a lemon twist. It is cold, perfectly sweet, perfectly tart, and a perfect vehicle to let the richness of Brockmans really shine through.

We will happily try a brand new gin drink any day of the week (don’t threaten us with a good time!). But sometimes, a gin classic, made right, in a cosy setting, with a lovely bartender, is exactly what we need.

Bee’s Knees

(it’s a classic)

Ingredients

  • 2 oz/60 ml Brockmans Gin
  • 1 oz/30 ml lemon juice
  • 1 oz/30 ml 1:1 honey syrup

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker.
  2. Shake vigourously until the tin is quite cold.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wedge, lemon wheel, or lemon twist.
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Love the classics as much as we do? Be sure to check out our deep dives on the histories of the French 75 and the Negroni next…