With the sweetness of honey and the sting of hot sauce, the Tequila Honey Bee drink is a delightful study of contrasts. This simple cocktail recipe takes just 5 minutes to assemble and is the perfect way to cool off on a hot and sultry summer night.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
The Tequila Honey Bee is one of my favorite summertime libations. It is sweet, spicy, salty, and oh-so refreshing! It also happens to pair beautifully with food, particularly anything from Mexican cuisine. Living in Los Angeles, I eat a LOT of Mexican food, so this is a big bonus.
As someone who loves margaritas, this is an excellent alternative to literally spice up your happy hour. It’s also a great recipe for those times when you’re hankering for a marg but you discover that you’re out of orange liqueur. Aside from tequila, you’ll just need a few pantry staples to make it. Crisis averted!
This is also an excellent recipe for making into large batches — multiply the recipe by however many servings you want to make and pour into a pitcher. Set up a serve-yourself bar with a cocktail shaker, ice bucket, lime wedges, and a plate of rim salt so your guests can serve themselves.
You don’t need a whole lot to make this Tequila Honey Bee cocktail. Here’s what you should grab:
- Hot Sauce - Use your favorite hot sauce here. I’m a huge fan of Cholula because it has both heat and deep flavor, but any color of Tabasco, Tapatio, Crystal, or even Sriracha will do the trick.
- Cayenne Pepper - If you don’t have cayenne on hand, swap in a pinch of any chili powder you have on hand. Hot paprika, chipotle, or plain ol’ chili powder will all do the trick.
- Lime Juice - Fresh is always best! To get the most juice from your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting into it.
- Honey Syrup - All you need is honey and hot water. So simple! For more info on infusing simple syrups with flavors, check out my guide here!
- Tequila - Opt for the best quality tequila in your price point, and always reach for brands that are made with 100% agave.
- Rim Salt & Lime Wedges - Happy hour is always a little brighter with a garnish. Mix up a quick spicy-sweet rim salt or use a store-bought version instead.
Making Tequila Honey Bee drinks is a snap. Here’s the equipment you’ll need to grab:
- Small Bowl - This is for making the honey simple syrup. Feel free to use a mug, too!
- Cocktail Shaker or Container with Lid- This is a cocktail that is best shaken, not stirred. I prefer a Boston shaker because they’re simple to use and easy to store, but a Cobbler style shaker will work just as well.
- Serving Glass - Nothing makes happy hour at home feel as fancy as a beautiful serving glass. Choose one that makes you smile!
How To Make A Tequila Honey Bee
Make the honey syrup: combine your honey and hot water in a small bowl. Stir until the two ingredients are completely mixed and then continue making your cocktail!
Layer ingredients: Using a cocktail shaker, combine the hot sauce, cayenne pepper, lime juice, honey syrup, and tequila.
Shake vigorously: Shake for 30 seconds, strain into your glass and add ice.
Enjoy! Garnish with a slice of lime and some rim salt for some extra zing. Chin, chin!
Homemade Rim Salt
Some of my favorite cocktails have salt rims - in most recipes salt acts as an ingredient that helps to amplify the flavors within the recipe. The same is for cocktails! Salt rims help allow the cocktail flavors to sing - particularly the sweet and sour flavors.
Of course, there are so many rim salts you can purchase online, but why buy some when you can easily make and adjust the flavors to your liking?
I've been making my own rim salt recently as I live close to an incredible Mexican grocery store in Los Angeles with a vast assortment of dried chiles and chile powders. Here's my recipe in case you want to create your own - simply mix the ingredients below together and you have your own homemade rim salt!
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- Take the time to make honey syrup. If you attempt to simply add pure honey to your cocktail, the thickness of the honey will prevent your cocktail from mixing thoroughly and will clog your shaker.
- Shake like the dickens! Shaking cocktails not only helps to chill them, but also acts to aerate and give them texture. Think of shaking your cocktail like creaming your butter and sugar — don’t skimp out on taking the appropriate amount of time to get the perfect mouthfeel for your Tequila Honey Bee.
- Consider making your own rim salt. Some of my favorite cocktails have salt rims - in most recipes salt acts as an ingredient that helps to amplify the flavors within the recipe. The same is for cocktails! Salt rims help allow the cocktail flavors to sing - particularly the sweet and sour flavors. While you’re free to use a pre-made salt rim like Tajin, making your own gives you more latitude to create the perfect blend to harmonize with your drinks.
Frequently Asked Questions
It all depends on the flavor profile you like. Tequila comes in three primary forms: blanco, reposado, and añejo. Blanco is clear as it is usually bottled immediately after distilling without aging in wooden barrels, and is great for using in light, citrusy drinks because it has a lighter, more neutral flavor. Reposado is aged for 2-12 months in oak barrels, so it has more vanilla and oak notes. Añejo is closer on the flavor spectrum to brown liquors like whiskey, as it is aged for 1-3 years in oak. No matter which kind you choose, be sure to opt for a brand that is made with 100% agave.
There are tons of options here! If you make a large batch of honey syrup, you can use it for other recipes as well! Here are some examples below if you're a fellow lover of honey as a natural sweetener.
Create Cocktails - Recipe ideas are linked here!
Moisten Cakes - Many bakers brush/pour honey syrup to the tops of their cakes before adding buttercream in order to retain moisture and add flavor.
Sparkling Water - Add honey syrup with muddled fruit to your glass before adding ice and sparkling water.
Various Cold Drinks - Add your liquid sugar and stir into the beverage of your choice. This allows you to avoid the granules of sugar that can sit at the bottom of your drink.
Whip Cream - Add before whipping to infuse some tasty honey flavor.
Absolutely! Feel free to mix up a large batch of the cocktail ingredients — I’d recommend about 8x the recipe below. Just be sure to keep ice and a shaker nearby so you can shake the cocktails to order!
The Golden Ratio
When mixing my own cocktails at home, I am ultimately looking for balance. The Tequila Honey Bee roughly follows these balanced guidelines as well. The general rule to follow when it comes to building cocktails is as follows:
- 2 Parts Alcohol (Gin, Rye, Vodka, Rum, Tequila)
- 1 Part Sour (Lemon juice, Lime Juice, Grapefruit Juice)
- 1 Part Sweet (Simple Syrup, Vermouth, Cream, Compote, Liquor)
By utilizing the basics above, you are more likely to achieve a balanced taste - it's a great guide to reference when developing your own recipes. Once you have your base, you can add additional flavors and notes in order to accomplish a more complex cocktail or one of my personal favorites - the Paloma.
More Summery Cocktail Recipes
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try this Tequila Honey Bee recipe, please share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Tequila Honey Bee
- Small Bowl
- Cocktail Shaker
- Serving Glass
- ½ cup Honey
- 2 tablespoon Hot Water
Tequila Honey Bee
- 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
- 1 Pinch Cayenne pepper
- ¾ oz Lime Juice
- 1 oz. Honey Syrup
- 2 oz. Tequila
- Rim Salt & Lime Wedges, Optional Garnish
- To make the honey syrup, combine your honey and hot water in a small bowl. Stir until the two ingredients are completely mixed and then continue making your cocktail! If you attempt to simply add pure honey to your cocktail, the thickness of the honey will prevent your cocktail from mixing thoroughly and will clog your shaker.½ cup Honey, 2 tablespoon Hot Water
Tequila Honey Bee
- Using a cocktail shaker, combine the hot sauce, cayenne pepper, lime juice, honey syrup, and tequila.1 teaspoon Hot Sauce, 1 Pinch Cayenne pepper, ¾ oz Lime Juice, 1 oz. Honey Syrup, 2 oz. Tequila
- Shake for 30 seconds, strain into your glass and add ice.
- Garnish with a slice of lime and some rim salt for some extra zing. Chin, chin!Rim Salt & Lime Wedges