The World’s Cutest Cocktail Is Served in a Honey Bear

The World's Cutest Cocktail Is Served in a Honey Bear photo

Every American pantry is stocked with peanut butter, pasta, canned soup, and a honey bear so sticky that its only salvation is the fact that it has an adorable face and dispenses sweet, sweet honey. Though not every American realizes that the trusty honey bear can also be the world’s cutest vessel for… cocktails. But Devon Boyll, bar manager at the cocktail bar Thunderbird in Indianapolis, realized the honey bear’s potential as an adult juice box and, well, you just have to try it.

Boyll got the idea at Camp Runamok, an outdoor bartender camp in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky where 200 industry pros come together to hang, tour distilleries, and drink around campfires for a week twice a year, once in June and again in September. At a pool party there, Boyll spotted two massive trash cans packed with grab-and-go honey bears pre-filled with drinks (no straws). “I had never seen that before,” he said. “It makes so much sense because you fill them, then throw them on top of ice for later.”

When he came back to Thunderbird, the idea for a cocktail that featured honey also served in the ubiquitous honey squeeze bottle became the “Chavez y Chavez.” It’s a split-base drink that mixes equal parts bourbon and scotch with lemon, honey, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Angostura bitters, and Cynar (a bitter Italian liqueur) to balance out the allspice with bitter notes. “It’s essentially a whiskey sour with some other fancy ingredients in it,” he said. Another key difference? His version was served with a straw through the lid hole: “At camp, we were just sucking the drink out of the hole, which is difficult and looks funny.” It’s citrus-y and refreshing with a holiday spice after taste—and it’s really, really fun to drink.

The Chavez y Chavez was named for Jose Chavez y Chavez, an outlaw from the Mexican territory (what is now New Mexico), in the late 1800s and early 1900 who was also part of the deputized outlaw gang, the Lincoln County Regulators—a cheeky throw to Lincoln County, Kentucky where Boyll first got the idea for the drink. At Thunderbird, the cocktail menus are themed, and the drink fit perfectly with the current menu’s theme dedicated to the wild, wild West, featuring drinks like “Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die,” and “You Rotten Son of a B***h.”

Thunderbird customers also have, er, sticky fingers with their honey bear drinks. “People steal the bears all the time,” Boyll joked. “It’s like, you have one in your cupboard already!

Not that the bar is short on honey bears. Boyll orders hundreds from a bee keeper supply store for about $50.

Boyll loves having fun with the drinks on the menu—especially when he gets to watch the priceless look customers’ faces when they order a stiff bourbon drink and receive an adorable baby bear filled with crushed ice and a straw. “Everyone has a different reaction. Most people are excited. But some macho men are offended and weirded out by it, and play it off like they aren’t,” Boyll said. “Some guys get completely clowned on by their friends.”

But, for most, watching a honey bear drink land on a table nearby inspires another drink order. “It’s one of those drinks that, when people see it during service, heads turn and orders increase.” Also probably Instagrams.

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