The Bee’s Knees is a prohibition-era cocktail named after the then-popular slang for something great. It’s likely that the hefty dose of honey and lemon were used in part to cover up bad gin, a consistent problem during those days, so when mixed with an excellent London dry gin from today, you really get something that fits the name. It’s terrific!
There aren’t too many drinks that use honey, which is kind of surprising. Sure, it’s hard to work with since it doesn’t easily mix with cold liquid, but the solution is simply to thin the honey by making honey syrup. Just remember: this requires you to add some water, so you may want to shake the drink for a shorter period than you normally would, to avoid over-dilution.
Making honey syrup is easy: mix equal parts honey and boiling water, stirring thoroughly to ensure the honey is completely incorporated, and then cool. I’ll often do this just before making the cocktail, using just the amount of honey and water that I’ll need, and mixing them in a steel container (for example, an OXO jigger) that I can then set on stone or metal to rapidly cool. You can also make a larger batch of it and store it in the fridge, where it’ll keep for at least a month.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Bee's Knees Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail Strainer
- Chilled Cocktail Coupe
- 2 oz. Gin Boodles
- .75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz. Honey syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. No garnish.