The phrase “the bee’s knees” is slang for “the best”, and has been around since Prohibition, just like the accompanying cocktail. The “bee” part is appropriate, as there is a honey/citrus twist on this gin cocktail, which of course was the rage during the 1930s and 1940s.
Many Prohibition cocktails have ingredients that are actually meant to hide the scent of alcohol, because (of course) alcohol was illegal during this era, and this is the reason for the honey and lemon flavor. This was also considered innovative at the time, considering most bartenders were using sugar to sweeten drinks rather than actual honey. This addition also helped popularize the drink during this time, as it was sweeter than most. This led to people who didn’t love the taste of gin to give in and develop a taste for the cocktail. There are many small variations on this drink, for those who love customizing their drink to fit their specific needs.
- 2 ounces of gin
- ¾ ounces of honey syrup
- 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
- Honey syrup (a combination of 1 cup honey and 1/3 cup of water)
- Pour the gin, lemon juice, and syrup over ice into a cocktail shaker.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail glass
There are all sorts of variations that are possible here. If you want more of a citrus flavor but don’t like lemon, try fresh squeezed orange juice. If you’re feeling daring, feel free to add a couple dashes of absinthe and orange bitters. Some people prefer a basil leaf garnish rather than a lemon peel. The bottom line is that the Bee’s Knees is a strong drink that still contains a lot of flavor, and a great way to start a happy hour. Enjoy one today!