Artisanal honey maker helps local
beverage professional ‘stir’ things up
STORY BY TRACY ALLERTON
PHOTOS BY EAU PALM BEACH RESORT/CHERI CRAFT
Krystal Kinney is shaking it up and pouring on the fun at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. As the new beverage manager, she is helping to create an enviable cocktail menu, updating the wine selections, and creating cocktail-centered events — such as speed wine tastings and whiskey flights — at the Manalapan resort’s Stir cocktail lounge and its Temple Orange, Breeze and Angle restaurants.
Thirsty guests are in great hands with Kinney, who has 16 years of hospitality experience and is a certified advanced sommelier. In her new role, she has introduced delicious craft cocktails made with a variety of local and seasonal elements.
“You will find fresh fruit and fresh herbs throughout many of our offerings, telling a local and authentic story about Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa,” said Kinney, adding that the craft beverages are created through “a collaborative effort including the entire culinary team – from the front of the house to the back of the house.” In addition, Kinney counts on partnerships with local growers and artisans to make the resort’s signature cocktails truly unique.
THE BEES’ KNEES
One such partnership is with local beekeeper Bradley Stewart and his prized Back Yard Honey, made from his 17 hives, each containing about 60,000 bees. Stewart’s honey is a key ingredient in two of Eau Palm Beach’s most “buzz-worthy” cocktails —Blueberry Lavender Lunatic and Don’t Mez Around.
The 88-year-old became keen on bees as a boy growing up in Bowling Green, KY, even earning a merit badge in the Boy Scouts for beekeeping. He has maintained beehives on and off for his entire life, mostly as a hobby. When his bee-averse wife died eight years ago, the South Palm Beach resident renewed his beekeeping efforts by putting up a few hives in friends’ backyards – hence the name Back Yard Honey – “and it began to grow.”
For several years, Stewart gave away most of the honey that his bees produce year-round. Slowly, he began selling the product that he bottled himself with homemade labels. Then John G’s Restaurant in Manalapan started off ering the jars for sale at the cash register, and an Eau Palm Beach executive picked one up to try. “They said, ‘We want to buy the honey from you to sell, ’” Stewart recalled. “They even had special bottles made for the honey — real fancy bottles.”
The honey is featured in the Eau Spa and touted as “signature honey created exclusively by Palm Beach bees and hand-crafted by our beekeeper, Bradley Stewart.” He also supplies larger bottles that are used by Kinney and crew to make the signature drinks.
“I think the best cocktails are those that we create by meeting and tasting diff erent spirits with whatever herb or fruit may be in season, ” Kinney said of the Eau’s new off erings. “As a team, we all have a passion for ingredients and spirits that make for a wonderful and priceless beverage experience.”
While craft cocktails remain very popular, Kinney notes that national trends harkening back to the world of spirits, such as bitter/herbal liqueurs, vodka, whiskeys, gin, tequila and rum, are on the rise here in Florida as well. Other trendy, new concoctions designed to quench guests’ thirst are craft beer-based cocktails. One of Kinney’s favorite beer cocktails is Eau’s featured Raspberry Haze, made with Ciroc vodka, basil, fresh raspberries, and Cigar City Indian Pale Ale.
“It has been thrilling to be the mastermind behind our new beverage menus and innovative cocktail selections, using the freshest and purest ingredients, ” Kinney said.
Beekeeper Stewart said he has tried the signature drinks featuring his honey, deeming them “tasty.”
“But I don’t know much about that, ” Stewart added, referring to alcoholic beverages. He prefers his own “elixir, ” an old family recipe that consists of a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon, dissolved in warm water (with an aspirin added when you are feeling sick). “I take it every day, ” he said. “That’s what keeps me going.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
September is National Honey Month. Visit ediblepalmbeach.com for the more bee and honey news, and for recipes for the Don’t Mez Around and Blueberry Lavender Lunatic cocktails.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
100 South Ocean Boulevard
Bradley’s Pure Back Yard Honey
South Palm Beach, FL 33480