Cocktails | Drinks | Recipes

Easy to Make Cocktails: The Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

Prohibition-era cocktails are so much fun! On top of having unique names, they’re often made with simple ingredients that really accent the flavor of the alcohol. Drinks like the Bee’s Knees cocktail are a perfect example of a delicious prohibition recipe that’s still relevant today. With just three ingredients, you can whip up this classic cocktail and be transported back in time.

This fun cocktail gets its name from the slang term “the bee’s knees” which was used in the prohibition era to mean “the best.”

The cocktail was created during that era by using citrus and honey to cover up the less than flavorful prohibition gin. But that doesn’t mean those two flavors don’t pair well with traditional gin!

Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe

To make a Bee’s Knees, you’ll need a dry gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey syrup. And since the star of this drink is the honey syrup, I think the cute name for this fun cocktail is fitting!

What You’ll Need to Make the Bee’s Knees:

  • Dry gin
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey Syrup
Prohibition Gin Cocktails

How to Make the Bee’s Knees Cocktail:

Step One:

  • Add the gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled and combined.

Step Two:

  • Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.

What is Honey Syrup?

Honey syrup is simply the combination of honey and water that is used in cocktails and other drinks. Since honey doesn’t respond well to cold, it needs to be thinned to prevent it from clumping and hardening in your drink. You can purchase pre-made honey syrup, but it’s simple to make at home if you don’t have any on hand.

To make your own honey syrup, simply combine equal parts honey and water. Combine the two ingredients and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Or put the water and honey in a small saucepan and heat them over medium low heat. After the honey has melted, whisk the ingredients together until smooth.

You can use your syrup immediately to make your Bee’s Knees or store the syrup in an air tight container. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks as long as it’s covered.

Bees Knees easy cocktail drink

Get Ready for a Party

If you’re hosting a party and want to serve this drink to a crowd, the key is being prepared. That means you’ll need to do a little bit of prep work so you’re ready when your guests arrive.

Start by squeezing several lemons so you’ll have plenty of fresh lemon juice on hand. Store the freshly squeezed juice in a bottle or pitcher in your refrigerator.

After that, make a large batch of honey syrup – enough for several drinks. The syrup can also be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve your cocktails.

When your guests arrive, have the syrup and lemon juice on hand, along with a bottle of gin and some ice. After that, all you need to do is combine the ingredients, shake, and serve.

History of the Bee’s Knees

This classic drink is said to have been created by Frank Meier, a bartender at the Hotel Ritz Paris during the 1920s. It’s a variation of a classic gin sour, which is traditionally made with gin, lemon, and sugar.

During the prohibition, when bootleggers typically made gin in their bathtubs, the flavor of the liquor was sorely lacking. That meant bartenders needed to come up with creative ways to mask the subpar flavor. Since honey created a richer drink, it was a good option for covering up the harsh flavor of bathtub gin.

Glass of Bees Knees Cocktail

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Variations

Since this cocktail recipe is so simple, there are a variety of ways to change it up to suit your tastes. Try one of these easy variations to change up the basic recipe.

  • Add some club soda. Create a variation of a Tom Collins by adding some club soda to your cocktail. Make the cocktail as written, but pour the drink into a highball glass over ice. Top the drink with some club soda, then give it a stir for a fizzy and refreshing cocktail.
  • Replace gin with vodka. If you’re not a fan of gin, try mixing the lemon juice and honey syrup with vodka instead. The drink will have a slightly different taste, but is still a refreshing citrus beverage.
  • To sweeten the drink, add more syrup. Give your Bee’s Knees a sweeter finish by increasing the amount of honey syrup in your cocktail. Add a small amount of extra syrup if you like your drinks on the sweeter side.
  • Top it with champagne. Another fun way to add some fizz to your Bee’s Knees is with champagne. Divide one drink between two champagne flutes and top it off with champagne or sparkling wine.
Speakeasy gin cocktail with honey syrup and lemon

Add some florals. Floral flavors pair perfectly with gin and lemon, making them a great option for adding more flavor to your cocktail.

Try mixing in a couple of drops of rose water or Elderflower liqueur to the drink before you shake it. Lavender is another great option for mixing in a floral element. Infuse your honey syrup with lavender or add a dash of lavender bitters.

Other Easy Cocktail Recipes to Try:

Make The Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Speakeasy gin cocktail with honey syrup and lemon

Easy to Make The Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A prohibition era, easy to make cocktail recipe, The Bee's Knees. Perfect for a dinner party and sharing with friends.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ ounce honey syrup

Instructions

  1. Add the gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled and combined.
  2. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.

Notes

To make honey syrup: simply combine equal parts of honey and water. Mix the two ingredients and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Or put the water and honey in a small saucepan and heat them over medium-low heat. After the honey has melted, whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 0gSugar: 47gProtein: 0g

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