Alessandra Rizzotti

I'm sipping a shot of ginger honey hooch below the restaurant rooftop of Louie's of Mar Vista in California. The building has been in Chef John Atkinson’s family for over two decades; once a butcher shop, it now serves as a restaurant and bar. Atkinson hails from Manhattan Beach, but became a chef in South Carolina after a stint studying history. His alcohol menu is an extensive, impressive display of his learned Southern hospitality, but the section that stands out most is "From The Hive"—cocktails inspired by honey from bees that were found in a sign above his restaurant 20 years ago.

“We noticed we were wasting ginger that we kept cutting for meals, so I thought about boiling it and adding in sugar,” Atkinson says. “But then the ginger was so strong that to balance it out, we needed something sweet. So we tried the honey from the hives.”

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