In the world of cocktails, there are classics, and then there are the classics that stand out even among the classics. The Bee's Knees is one such drink, an elegant and refreshingly timeless concoction that not only delights the palate but also comes with a fascinating slice of history.
During the era of Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), when the production and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned, the Bee's Knees cocktail emerged as a clever way to mask the less-than-palatable taste of homemade bathtub gin. The combination of gin, honey, and lemon juice served a dual purpose: it made the rough alcohol more palatable and created a drink that was both smooth and sweet, making it the bee's knees, or in other words, the best thing around.
(Originally published 10/27/23)
2 oz. Gin
¾ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Honey Syrup (recipe below)
Lemon Twist (for garnish)
Add gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup to your Hybrid Cocktail Shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
Honey Syrup Recipe
½ cup honey (adjust to taste)
½ cup water
Add the honey and water into a small saucepan over medium heat.Stir until the honey is dissolved.Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.
Bee's Knees Riff
Add 2 dashes of absinthe and 2 dashes of orange bitters to make a variation called "The Oldest Living Confederate Widow". Created by Toby Malone at the Violet Hour in Chicago.