bees knees cocktail with ingredients on counter

Bees Knees Cocktail: A Drink Worth the Buzz

Our article will tell you everything you need to know about The Bee’s Knees cocktail, including how it is made, its expected flavor profile, and how to service this classic drink best.

Bee’s Knees: What You Should Know

The Bee’s Knees cocktail sprang into existence during the time of Prohibition in the United States. The earliest version of the drink is widely believed to have been invented by Frank Meier, an Austrian-born bartender in the 1920s who worked at the Café Parisian at the Ritz in Paris. The addition of lemon juice and honey in this drink is thought to have been used to cover the strong and sharp taste of illicitly produced gin that was common during this time period. The name of this cocktail refers to the Prohibition slang ‘the bee’s knees’ for something being the best. The standard recipe for The Bee’s Knees features two ounces of gin and one ounce each of lemon juice and honey syrup. The simplicity of this recipe is something that makes it easy to riff on, and many individuals appreciate the tart, somewhat sweet, taste of the drink that enhances the flavors of today’s modern gins. Bee’s knees cocktails are typically served in cocktail coupe glasses or martini glasses, and they appear a light yellow or gold color. They are often garnished with a lemon twist or complementary herbs like thyme and rosemary.

What Is the Bee’s Knees Flavor Profile?

The exact flavor profile of The Bee’s Knees cocktail depends on the specific ingredients used, as some gins have a heavier juniper flavor, while others bring more citrus and floral flavors to the forefront of the drink. Additionally, the amount of lemon juice may be increased or decreased, and the honey syrup may be mixed with simple syrup for a sweeter drink. In general, The Bee’s Knees flavor profile is sweet, tart, and acidic. The gin provides a botanical note and enhances the citrus flavor of the drinks, and depending on the gin used, there may be strong traces of juniper or spices.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Bee’s Knees?

The exact alcohol content of your The Bee’s Knees cocktail depends on the type of gin you use in your drink. Most gins have a proof that ranges between 72 and 100, making the ABV range between 36 and 50 percent. On average, you can expect your bee’s knees cocktail to be about 40% ABV per drink.

What Goes Well With the Bee’s Knees?

The Bee’s Knees cocktail features a simple, yet enjoyable, recipe, but the simplicity of this drink allows individuals to build on the drink and add different complementary flavors to it. In general, herbaceous complements like thyme and rosemary work well with The Bee’s Knees cocktail, as they bring out the herbal or botanical flavors found in gin. You can create a unique twist on The Bee’s Knees cocktail by infusing your gin with something like lavender or early grey tea, bringing a set of floral or slightly citrus flavors into your drink. You may also want to replace the honey syrup in The Bee’s Knees cocktail with St. Germain, an elderflower liquor that guarantees to enhance the booziness of the drink and the floral components. Popular garnishes for The Bee’s Knees cocktail include lemon twists, herb springs, and dried fruit.

The Best Bee’s Knees Cocktail

The best bee’s knees cocktail is the one with ingredients you enjoy and any twists that you like to add. Below, we give you a basic bee’s knees cocktail recipe and some interesting variations on this classic cocktail to try.

The Bee’s Knees Cocktail

  • 2 ounces of gin (your favorite brand)
  • 1 ounce of honey syrup (mix honey with hot water one-on-one to create this; use honey and simple syrup for a sweeter drink)
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
Gather your ingredients and a cocktail shaker, filling the shaker with ice. Pour in your ingredients and shake to combine for at least 20 seconds. Pour your bee’s knees into a chilled cocktail or martini glass and garnish.

The French 75

  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1/2 an ounce of honey syrup
  • 1/2 an ounce of lemon juice
  • 3 ounces of champagne (your favorite brand)
Pour your gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake to combine. Strain the mixture into a champagne flute and then top off the rest of the glass with your champagne. You may choose to garnish your drink with a lemon twist.

Infused Bee’s Knees

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce of honey syrup
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • Infusion ingredients, such as lavender, Earl Grey tea bags, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, citrus peels, and berries
The infused bee’s knees recipe is the same as the traditional bee’s knees recipe, except you will need to infuse either your honey syrup or your gin with your chosen ingredients before mixing the drink. This is done by taking the amount of gin or honey syrup you wish to use and placing your infusion ingredients in them for a period of four hours up to several days. You can infuse both your honey syrup and your gin depending on your preferences and the flavor profiles you are trying to create. Once your items are infused, mix your bee’s knees as normal and garnish with a lemon twist or the ingredients you choose to infuse with, such as a spring of lavender.

How to Serve a Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Serving The Bee’s Knees cocktail is fairly straightforward, and you will need a cocktail shaker, a strainer, ice, and a cocktail coupe glass or a martini glass to prepare this drink. To craft your bee’s knees, pour your gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice into the cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled, and then pour your prepared cocktail into your coupe or martini glass. It helps to chill your chosen glass beforehand so the drink stays cold. Garnish your drink as you like and enjoy. The Bee’s Knees cocktail is a popular pre-dinner and after-dinner drink, though it goes well with certain types of food should you choose to enjoy it over a meal. Grilled shrimp, roasted chicken, light salads, and cheese plates all pair exceedingly well with this drink.

Sipping a Cocktail That’s the Bee’s Knees

bee’s knees cocktail in cocktail glass
The Bee’s Knees is a popular cocktail with many variations around today. The simplicity of the basic recipe for The Bee’s Knees leads to plenty of experimentation, and you can do this yourself as you infuse your syrups or gin with your favorite herbs, florals, spices, and even teas to bring different flavor notes to this cocktail. Drink your bee’s knees chilled in a cocktail glass with your favorite garnishes any time you are craving a tart, sweet, and refreshing drink that truly is the bee’s knees.
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