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Perched atop The Emily Hotel is a quiet little green space where we grow heirloom corn, edible flowers, berries, peppers, and various herbs. These ingredients are harvested by our team of chefs who dream up new and exciting ways to use them in our on-site restaurants Fora and Selva. While creating the menus, our team wanted to learn more about how we could work with the community to create unique pairings with our crops and stumbled upon a local company called The Roof Crop!

The Roof Crop, located just a hop, skip, and a jump from The Emily, is a design focused urban agriculture initiative that promotes sustainability, ecology, and community engagement. Conceived as a project to market farmable green roof systems in 2013, TRC has since grown into a full-service green roof construction, landscape, and urban farming company. In addition to curating garden spaces, The Roof Crop also work with their partners to produce infused honey from the help of their apiaries. When the opportunity came to collaborate with TRC and create our very own Emily Hotel honey, we were buzzin’ 😉

While prepping for the crop, we discussed how we could create a hot pepper and marigold infused honey that would be reminiscent of smokey, spicy Spanish flavors. This proved to be an obstacle as Roof Crop was hesitant about whether they could achieve a dried, smoked chili flavor. To begin the process, we supplied TRC with ancho chilies from our garden which were then toasted in a low heat oven to prepare them to be ground. Roof Crop infusions are created using low temperatures from a honey blanket heater, which helps prevent pasteurization and keeps all their honey raw.

Once the peppers were ready, three separate batches of raw honey were infused for Roof Crop to perform an internal tasting. These variations included one with only marigold petals, one with only marigold leaves, and the final one with toasted and ground ancho chilies. The TRC team then did special blend of the three for the Emily team to approve the final composition…

It tastes amazing! We were in total awe with the golden color the ancho chilies gave to the honey, as well as the caramel notes the balance of the infusion provided. Because the honey had such a natural sweetness, the earthy qualities of the marigolds and the smokey spice from the toasted anchoes created a beautiful balance. Our collaboration provides a unique, local, and sustainable honey that maintains all the health benefits of raw honey! Grab a jar in our Coffee Bar for your Chicago neighbors, or as a gift to bring back home to your friends and family after your stay with us at The Emily Hotel!

Need a recipe idea? Test your bartending skills and try this smoky, spicy Old Fashioned!

Chili Honey Old Fashioned


• 2oz W.L. Weller Special Reserve

• 3/4oz Emily Hotel Marigold Ancho Honey

• 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

• 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters


Stir the whiskey, bitters, and honey for 30 seconds without ice. Add 2 large ice cubes and stir for 25 seconds, then strain into a glass with a large ice cube and garnish with a thin slice of orange rind!