Hotel Indigo producing sweet buzz downtown
BATON ROUGE - A system atop the second floor of a Baton Rouge hotel is quite unique.
The Hotel Indigo rooftop features a garden filled with flowers, homegrown herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and bees.
“It's natural. It's so cool. It's cool to be up there with the bees,” said Hotel Indigo general manager Barry Gambold.
What started as a simple herb garden for general manager Barry Gambold and staff about three years ago now, serves as a vital culinary operation supplementing unique garnishes and recipes guaranteed to satisfy the most decadent of palates.
Tal Johnson, food and beverage director, showed WBRZ the rooftop garden and explained how they're now harvesting honey into some unique cocktails.
“Fresh ingredients, it brings out the aroma as well as the fragrance,” said Johnson.
Two parts Barrel Oak Whiskey, one part apple juice and that sweet Indigo rooftop honey is what Johnson says is their, “Bistro Buzz.”
Their Lemon Thyme drop consists of Vodka, Triple Sec, apple, and lemon juice, fresh herb-garden thyme, and honey.
Harvesting that honey hasn't always been this easy.
“UPS shows up with this box of live bees that you could see. That was our first try, and it didn't work,” said Gambold.
That was last year when the bees didn't exactly get along with the queen, so they bought what's called an apiary and bought better bees online.
“This year we got them in January. It seemed to be working really well,” said Gambold.
About a gallon of honey a month fulfills hundreds of cocktails, it's a team effort for Tal Barry and the maintenance staff but sometimes getting to this step can be painful.
“Ten stings between four people in an hour, so it's not always fun and games, I can assure you, and I was one of the four. I'm not going to tell you how many times I got stung; just that I was one of the four,” said Gambold.
Last month, a couple of blocks north Baton Rouge police shut down part of Third Street.
“We actually had a lady come into the office and say, 'I just got stung by a bee,'” said Davis Rhorer Downtown Executive Director.
When bees swarmed the downtown area, all fingers pointed at Hotel Indigo.
“Our bees were behaving, as we say,” said Gambold.