The bee’s knees is a classic cocktail consisting of gin, lemon juice and honey. The recipe has been revamped with local distillery Thinking Tree Spirits and GloryBee honey collaborating to create what Thinking Tree Spirits CEO and co-founder Emily Jensen says will be a “perfect, delightful cocktail” to celebrate spring with.
Thinking Tree Spirits is working with the Save the Bee nonprofit facilitated by GloryBee to produce the bee’s knees, the newest addition to the distillery’s ready-to-drink cocktail line.
GloryBee is family owned and has been operating in Eugene for 45 years, while Thinking Tree Spirits opened in 2016 after two years of repurposing and refurbishing the 100-year-old building their tasting room resides in. The two businesses’ like-minded commitments to sustainability and high-quality ingredient sourcing led to the bee’s knees partnership, where every ready-to-drink cocktail purchase will support the Save the Bee nonprofit.
“It’s a cool product with a really good story that’s about something a whole lot bigger than a honey company and an alcohol company,” Jensen says. “What a great way to celebrate this hundred-year span by raising up the bee’s knees again.”
Jensen says this partnership started with Thinking Tree Spirits sourcing blackstrap molasses from GloryBee for rum. The bee’s knees collaboration came about after GloryBee President Alan Turanski reached out to Jensen about revitalizing the classic cocktail.
She says the goal of Thinking Tree Spirits has always been to create spirits that truly taste like Oregon. “Our whole ethos has been: We endeavor to bring people together and let’s use spirits as a conduit to create the world that we want to live in,” Jensen says. “It’s truly in our DNA as an organization; we’re better together and sustainability is good for all of us.”
Lynne Fessenden, Save the Bee and environmental stewardship manager for GloryBee, says the Save the Bee nonprofit is near and dear to the founders’ hearts as beekeepers. She says GloryBee is dedicated to providing “high quality, ethically sourced ingredients that nourish people and the planet.”
“We’ve built a reputation on people being able to count on our products and our honey,” Fessenden says. “We really are the honey experts.”
Fessenden says the bee’s knees partnership between Save the Bee and Thinking Tree Spirits feels different than some of their other partnerships.
“Working with Thinking Tree is just a thrill because they’re right here and they’re part of our community,” Fessenden says. “GloryBee is not going to save bees all by ourselves. We need everyone in this together.”
Jensen says Thinking Tree Spirits is a farm-to-flask distillery. It partners with over seven different farms and businesses to use high-quality, local ingredients in its distillery. Euphoria Chocolates provides leftover nibs to be used for chocolate rum while Johnson Family Farms provides boysenberries for boysenberry liquor. Botanicals from Mountain Rose Herbs and soft white wheat from Camas Country Mill make Main Stage Vodka and Gifted Gin, the distillery’s mainstay spirits.
With the bee’s knees collaboration, GloryBee honey will be used in the ready-to-drink cocktail and 1 percent of sales revenue will be donated to the Save the Bee campaign.
Jensen says the Eugene community’s continued support for Thinking Tree Spirits has been important to the business throughout the pandemic and now is an incredibly exciting time for the company. She says the distillery is proudly women-led and community-powered.
“We have a big vision as a company and the Eugene community has reflected that vision with us from day one,” Jensen says. “We are genuinely interested in continuing to create a world of beauty and to help Eugene into a space of healthy prosperity.” ν
You can buy Thinking Tree Spirits’ ready-to-drink cocktails at 88 Jackson Street. Hours are noon to 10 pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. Visit ThinkingTreeSpirits.com for more information.