An Anti-Valentine's Day Drink: Black Honey


Photograph: Elana Lepkowski

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Are you tired of the relentless stream of hearts, hugs, and assorted pink nonsense that has been surrounding you since the day after New Year's? Does it make you want a drink? A non-rose-colored one? Something a little more... real?

Consider this your anti-Valentine's cocktail. The first taste is sweet, exotic, and exciting... but it ends up bitter, and with a bite. The backbone of this drink is Cynar, a bittersweet Italian liqueur (that carries significantly more bitter than sweet). Then we add the grassy Jamaican rum Smith & Cross, a touch of lime, and round it out with a honey-cinnamon syrup.

It's a cocktail that confounds expectations. The initial funky aromas of rum, lime, and cinnamon suggest you're about to have a fruity tiki drink. But your first sip is a mouthful of rich honey and rum's smoky molasses-like flavor, before things drop swiftly into a forcefully bitter finish from the Cynar. You'll continue to notice these three discrete periods of sensation every time you raise the glass for another gulp—it drives you to sip again and again.

About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based home-schooled mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @stirandstrain where she sometimes forgets she needs a filter.