This article is a paid partnership with Maker’s Mark and published by Cuisine as advertorial.

Smooth and sweet and sour and sustainable. Who’d have thought you could blend all these qualities so agreeably in just one crystal-cut rocks glass?

It takes likeminded spirits to craft such a cocktail. More precisely, it takes the smoothest bourbon paired with a layered-flavour honey, ingredients made by two companies on opposite sides of the globe who found common ground.

The Gold Rush is the easy-sipping manifestation of a partnership between iconic Maker’s Mark bourbon which is born, where else, but the wheaten fields of Kentucky and Taylor Pass Honey Co, the South Island-based award-winning honey company established more than 20 years ago. 

These businesses connected when they recognised a shared commitment to sustainability, of people and of place. Both privately owned and both B-Corp certified, it’s no surprise that their taglines ring with a similar refrain. 

For Maker’s Mark, their ‘Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace’ philosophy is evident in a beautifully balanced bourbon that echoes a 70-year history when Bill Samuels Sr. turned to using soft red winter wheat in his mash instead of the usual rye. For Taylor Pass Honey Co, their ‘Taste a World of Good’ ethic is a natural byproduct of working with bees. 

“We were looking for a partnership that shared the same values,” says Rhianna Lucas, Maker’s Mark Diplomat. “The synergies between us were immediately evident: we both acknowledge we are merely custodians of the land.”

As Rebecca Margetts, Sales and Marketing General Manager of Taylor Pass Honey Co, points out: “Without bees, two thirds of the food products we rely on would disappear. Maintaining their wellness is essential, so ensuring the health of bees is at the heart of every decision we make. We tread lightly and are mindful of the impact we have on the land of which we are only guardians. Teaming up on this project was a match made in heaven.”

At their Kentucky base, Maker’s Mark has instigated innovative practices on their Star Hill Farm – such as not using pesticides, planting cover crops, and the rotational grazing of lambs and cows – to grow better grains. “Better grain means better-tasting whisky, but we are also ticking a lot of rigorous boxes in terms of sustainability,” explains Rhianna. 

These efforts have ensured they are the first whisky distillery on the planet to lay down a barrel of Reginified-certified whisky, an accredited framework that acknowledges regenerative agriculture.

Moon miles away in the flora-dressed hilltops of Marlborough, Central Otago and South Westland, Taylor Pass Honey beekeepers are innovating in their own way. “As a vertically integrated business, we manage the entire process from hive to jar,” says Rebecca who was instrumental in choosing Beech Honeydew from their product range as one of the two hero ingredients in the cocktail. 

The company specialises in mono-floral honey. Worker bees collect honeyed dewdrops from the bark of beech trees and bring them home to the hive, where it is turned into delicious honey. Knowing when to collect the honey boxes is an art that beekeepers have honed. It’s about working in harmony with nature and letting nature be the guide.

The Gold Rush was introduced to cocktail connoisseurs during a pop-up event at Ben Bayly’s Origine restaurant where mixologist Egor Petrov teamed the two brands in tinkling glassware in an intimate speakeasy-style ‘Sustainable Suite’. 

For Maker’s Mark and Taylor Pass, this was a delicious way to start the conversation around the importance of environmental conservation.  

A pared-back recipe allows the purity of the ingredients to shine. Handmade Kentucky Straight bourbon, soft and full-flavoured, is countered by the sweet-yet-savoury notes of beech honeydew, brought together with a zing of luscious lemon.  

“It’s a riff on the classic whisky sour,” explains Rhianna. “My favourite thing about The Gold Rush is that even those who are not bourbon drinkers adore it. It’s a lovely cocktail to start your journey of whisky discovery with.”

Beech Honeydew has a complex, savoury flavour which marries well with the warmth of bourbon. “I’d call it the ultimate foodie honey,” says Rebecca. “It’s great in salad dressings and marinades, and a cheeseboard without honeydew is missing a trick.” 

Naturally, it’s the perfect companion in The Gold Rush, too. Precious as a rare metal this cocktail may be but it’s not advisable to hurry. Ask for it at your favourite bar or shake it up yourself. You can taste the partnership at home through Liquorland stores across the country. Sip it slowly as an aperitif or after dinner. Made in minutes, it deserves to be enjoyed at leisure. 


  • 45ml Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 20ml honey syrup (2 parts Taylor Pass honey: 1 part water)
  • large ice cube, to serve
  • lemon twist, to garnish
  • Ice cubes, for shaker

Chill a serving glass. Add ice, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lemon juice and Taylor Pass honey syrup to a shaker. Shake well for 30 seconds. Add a large ice cube to a serving glass, then strain the shaker into the glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Find out more by visiting the Maker’s Mark Website here

Or learn more about Taylor Pass honey here