Well, Isn’t That Just the Knee’s Bees!
This classic Prohibition-era cocktail gets its name from the phrase “bee’s knees,” which was used to mean “the best.”
Crafted with gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey syrup, the Bee’s Knees is a simple yet flavorful cocktail. Its citrusy taste is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of honey. With its elegant golden color and delicate lemon twist garnish, this sophisticated drink is sure to impress your guests. Learn how to make this delightful Bee’s Knees cocktail for an unforgettable experience.
Here’s a recipe for the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail:
- 2 oz gin
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (see instructions below)
- Lemon twist for garnish
- Make the honey syrup: In a small saucepan, combine honey and water (for example, 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water). Heat over low heat, occasionally stirring, until the honey completely dissolves into the water. Let cool before using.
- Add the gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds until well chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass (aren’t these pretty!).
- Garnish with a lemon twist and serve and add tiny faux flower daisy’s, too (optional).
Enjoy your delicious Bee’s Knees cocktail!
TIP: You can use smoked honey to make a Bee’s Knees cocktail. Smoked honey adds a unique smoky flavor to the cocktail, which can complement the other ingredients nicely. Another option would be to use lavender honey.
You can purchase honey syrup rather than making it yourself and you can find honey syrup in many specialty food stores, online retailers, or even some grocery stores.
Did you know?
“Bee’s Knees” is an idiomatic phrase famous in the United States during the 1920s, particularly during Prohibition. The term describes something considered excellent, outstanding, or the best.
It’s unclear where the phrase “Bee’s Knees” originated from. Still, it’s believed to have been popularized by the era’s slang, which often used animal-related terms to express approval. Other similar phrases from the time include “cat’s meow,” “elephant’s adenoids,” and “monkey’s eyebrows.”
Some sources credit the cocktail’s creation to the speakeasies of Prohibition-era New York City, while others suggest that it may have been invented in Paris during the same time period. Despite its mysterious origins, the Bee’s Knees has become a classic cocktail and is still enjoyed today.
In the Bee’s Knees cocktail context, the phrase likely referred to the sweet and delicious flavor of the drink, which was made with honey and lemon juice. The combination of flavors was considered outstanding or “the bee’s knees,” leading to the cocktail’s name.
A little history:
The Bee’s Knees cocktail was created during the Prohibition era in the United States, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. During this time, the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol were illegal, leading to a rise in illicit speakeasies and bootlegging operations.
Many people turned to make their own alcohol at home, which often resulted in low-quality products.
To mask the flavor of these poor-quality spirits, people often used mixers like honey and citrus juices to make them more palatable. This cocktail was one such creation, made with gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup.
The name “Bee’s Knees” was a famous phrase at the time, meaning “the best,” which perfectly described this tasty and refreshing cocktail.
After Prohibition ended, the cocktail remained popular and has continued to be enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts ever since.
The Bee’s Knees is often made with high-quality gin and fresh ingredients, making it a sophisticated and delicious drink perfect for any occasion.