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Nolen's Bee's Knees

Barman Robert Yumul makes a clean-drinking cocktail with honey and lemon

Place

Nolen

453 Sixth Avenue, San Diego

If you intend to go to the Nolen Rooftop, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that the only way is up — and Nolen’s lead barman Robert Yumul is leading the way by upping the ante in spirit-based beverages.

For example, as a classic reimagined — but not by much — the Bee’s Knees is Yumul’s idea of a cocktail with the perfect sting.

“It’s a classic Prohibition cocktail and our recipe is slightly different from the original,” Yumul says. “The original was designed, like a lot of cocktails at the time, to eliminate the bad taste of badly made gin. The original cocktail had more honey and citrus to it.”

The Bee’s Knees is also the West Coast’s contribution to a master cocktail menu that usually includes mostly East Coast offerings.

“It’s really just speculation,” Yumul says. “No one can particularly say who made the drink first, but I’ve done a lot of research, and nine out of ten people say it came out of San Francisco.”

A romantic fool for the days of passwords, false walls, and fly-by-night gin joints, Yumul sees the Bee’s Knees as the perfect drink for the Nolen’s “reverse speakeasy” feel.

“You get into that elevator that takes you up here and you can almost pretend you are in Prohibition,” he says. “You’re drinking hooch in a place you’re not necessarily supposed to be. That’s what I love about it and what I love about that cocktail.”

By juicing up the hooch in the Bee’s Knees, Yumul says, he’s not trying to burn taste buds — but calibrate them to the floating motes of nostalgia that infuse the Nolen, heart, soul, bottle, and glass.

“The drink has a slightly sweet flavor,” he says. “You can taste the honey and you can taste the lemon, and they play well with the botanicals of the gin, so you’ll also taste the juniper. It’s still tart, but not overly so. It’s just clean drinking — a really great cocktail.”

Robert Yumul

The Bee's Knees

  • 2 oz. Beefeater Gin
  • ½ oz. honey simple syrup*
  • 3 oz. fresh lemon juice

Fill cocktail tin with ice, pour ingredients, shake “longer than you would for any other cocktail,” pour into coupe and garnish with lemon wheel or peel.

*Honey Simple Syrup

  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water

Boil water, add honey, stir and let sit until mixture reaches room temperature.

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Place

Nolen

453 Sixth Avenue, San Diego

If you intend to go to the Nolen Rooftop, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that the only way is up — and Nolen’s lead barman Robert Yumul is leading the way by upping the ante in spirit-based beverages.

For example, as a classic reimagined — but not by much — the Bee’s Knees is Yumul’s idea of a cocktail with the perfect sting.

“It’s a classic Prohibition cocktail and our recipe is slightly different from the original,” Yumul says. “The original was designed, like a lot of cocktails at the time, to eliminate the bad taste of badly made gin. The original cocktail had more honey and citrus to it.”

The Bee’s Knees is also the West Coast’s contribution to a master cocktail menu that usually includes mostly East Coast offerings.

“It’s really just speculation,” Yumul says. “No one can particularly say who made the drink first, but I’ve done a lot of research, and nine out of ten people say it came out of San Francisco.”

A romantic fool for the days of passwords, false walls, and fly-by-night gin joints, Yumul sees the Bee’s Knees as the perfect drink for the Nolen’s “reverse speakeasy” feel.

“You get into that elevator that takes you up here and you can almost pretend you are in Prohibition,” he says. “You’re drinking hooch in a place you’re not necessarily supposed to be. That’s what I love about it and what I love about that cocktail.”

By juicing up the hooch in the Bee’s Knees, Yumul says, he’s not trying to burn taste buds — but calibrate them to the floating motes of nostalgia that infuse the Nolen, heart, soul, bottle, and glass.

“The drink has a slightly sweet flavor,” he says. “You can taste the honey and you can taste the lemon, and they play well with the botanicals of the gin, so you’ll also taste the juniper. It’s still tart, but not overly so. It’s just clean drinking — a really great cocktail.”

Robert Yumul

The Bee's Knees

  • 2 oz. Beefeater Gin
  • ½ oz. honey simple syrup*
  • 3 oz. fresh lemon juice

Fill cocktail tin with ice, pour ingredients, shake “longer than you would for any other cocktail,” pour into coupe and garnish with lemon wheel or peel.

*Honey Simple Syrup

  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water

Boil water, add honey, stir and let sit until mixture reaches room temperature.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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