• Taking Honey & Themes to the Max

    POSTED June 4, 2017
  • Taking Honey & Themes to the Max

    POSTED June 4, 2017
  • Taking Honey & Themes to the Max

    POSTED June 4, 2017
  • Taking Honey & Themes to the Max

    POSTED June 4, 2017

Sweet can mean two things: tastes great or stellar experience. There is a lot of sweetness in the U.S. Mountain West and western Canada, but I’ll limit this to talking about the new “Buzzed at Bernardus” experiences at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley, California.

Set on 28 acres of lush florals and vineyards with 100 fruit trees, a two-acre organic garden and 2,000 lavender plants, the newest residents at Bernardus Lodge & Spa (Italian honeybees) can visit up to 5,000 flowers a day! Three colonies, maintained by teen entrepreneur Jake Reisdorf, who is the beekeeper and owner of Carmel Honey Company, and Chef Cal Stamenov’s two personal home hives ensure the property is well steeped in the sweet and healthy elixir.

Beginning June 3 and continuing every Saturday at noon throughout the summer, resort guests can tap into a complimentary educational bee walk with Cal or Jake to learn the ins and outs of apiculture and tour the organic vegetable and rose gardens. Groups staying at the property can set up private tours.

To savor a taste, the open-air Lucia Bar is now serving EpiPen, Smokey Stinger and Queen Bee craft cocktails, and Chef Stamenov is including his honey in summer dishes served at Lucia Restaurant like garden mache with local mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and black sage honey and bacon vinaigrette; chilled bing cherry soup with honey ginger ice cream, and honey florentines. Lucia Restaurant and Bar is named for the Lucia Mountains that serve as the backdrop for the resort.

Honey not only tastes good, it attracts and retains moisture, making it ideal for a Honeybee & Sunshine Massage and Honey Bee & Blossom Facial in the resort’s spa.

Groups can capitalize on this theme when staying at Bernardus Lodge & Spa or other properties with bee hives (I know of several in Denver, Colorado) and provide attendees with a jar of honey and a recipe attached, spa products made with honey and recently introduced Blume Honey Water as welcome gifts, turn-down amenities or thank yous to take home. Blume makes all-natural energizing waters made with pure honey as the core ingredient in three available flavors: Vanilla Citrus, Ginger Zest and Wild Blueberry. My editorial advisory board enjoyed tasting all three during a meeting break as they provide spike-less energy and are a nice alternative to overly sweetened, artificial drinks.

September is National Honey Month, so it’s an especially good time to integrate honey into your meetings mix but any time is the right time!

— 1.5 oz Mason Dixon Distillery Aged Rum
— 3 oz pecan syrup
— 1.5 oz half and half 

To make the pecan syrup combine 4 parts water and 4 parts sugar, then heat (but do not boil). Remove from heat once the mixture becomes clear. Add chopped pecans and let sit until mixture darkens. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Mason-Dixon Distillery 


— 2 oz. Queen’s Courage Old Tom Gin
— 3 dashes Aromatic Bitters (Hella Bitters is a good substitute however, use only two dashes)
— .25 oz. tonic syrup (Use Tomr’s or honey as a substitute)
— Orange Twist for Garnish

1. In a mixing glass or tin combine the gin, bitters and tonic syrup.
2. Add ice and stir until well chilled.
3. Pour into a well-chilled glass or over large ice cubes/whiskey stones if you have them.
4. Garnish with the peel of an orange.


Vanillamore Dessert Kitchen's Bloomfield Avenue space nears completion and is expected to open in September. Risa Magid Boyer, Vanillamore's 29-year-old chef/owner, has been refining her concept for more than two years and while sweets are definitely a focus, they’re not the only thing offered.