Bee's Knees Cocktail Recipe

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Bee's Knees Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Bee's Knees cocktail is a Prohibition-era classic, created in the 1920s as a way to mask the harsh taste of bathtub gin. The name 'Bee's Knees' is a slang term from the era, meaning 'the best'. This cocktail would be enjoyed by those who appreciate a bit of history and a refreshing, citrusy drink.

  • Originated in the 1920s
  • Named after a popular slang term
  • Created to mask the taste of poor-quality gin

How Bee's Knees Tastes?

The Bee's Knees cocktail is a delightful balance of sweet, sour, and floral flavors. The honey syrup adds a rich sweetness, while the lemon juice provides a tangy, refreshing sourness. The gin's botanicals shine through, giving the drink a complex and satisfying taste.

Interesting facts about Bee's Knees

  • The Bee's Knees is a classic Prohibition-era cocktail
  • The name 'Bee's Knees' means 'the best'
  • The cocktail was created to mask the taste of poor-quality gin


A few good options for Bee's Knees are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Gin acts as the robust backbone of the Bee's Knees, providing herbal and sometimes floral underpinnings that dance well with the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the lemon. If the gin is absent, you'd have a non-alcoholic honey-lemonade. Too much gin, and you might feel like you're nuzzling a juniper bush!

Alex Green

Honey Syrup

The honey syrup brings a touch of nature's nectar to an otherwise sharp and clear concoction. It smooths over the gin's complexity and the lemon's acidity with its velvety sweetness. Skimp on it, and the cocktail could skew too sour; overdo it, and you might as well be drinking tea with lemon and a bee's generosity of honey.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is the zesty yin to the honey syrup's yang. It keeps the drink fresh and lively, ensuring that each sip comes with a zestful kick. Miss out on the lemon juice and the cocktail will lose its refreshing bite, making it flat and overly sweet. Too much could turn your cocktail into a wince-worthy pucker-fest.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Bee's Knees Drink

  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker
    • 2 oz gin
    • 0.75 oz honey syrup
    • 0.75 oz lemon juice
  2. Add ice to the shaker
  3. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor
  • Shake well to ensure the honey syrup fully mixes with the other ingredients
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platters: The creaminess of cheeses like goat cheese or Brie contrast beautifully with the tartness of the lemon.
  • Seafood: Light seafood dishes, such as shrimp cocktail or a fresh oyster platter, complement the botanicals in the gin.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken: The herbal notes of the gin and the honey's sweetness can enhance the savoriness of grilled chicken.
  • Salads: A fresh salad with a citrus dressing pairs nicely, echoing the lemon in the cocktail.


  • Lemon Tart: A lemon tart, with its sweet and tart profile, can be a delightful dessert to follow up the Bee's Knees.
  • Almond Cookies: The nuttiness of almond cookies balances the cocktail's sweet and citrus notes.

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What you could change in Bee's Knees

  • Gin: Can be substituted with vodka for a less botanical flavor
  • Honey Syrup: Agave syrup or simple syrup can be used as a substitute
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice can be used for a different citrus twist

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Lavender Bee's Knees

Add a 0.25 oz of lavender syrup to the standard recipe.

  • The floral notes of the lavender syrup will interweave elegantly with the gin's botanicals, creating a cocktail with a fragrant bouquet and a herbal twist.

Spiced Bee's Knees

Include a small pinch of ground cayenne pepper before shaking.

  • This will add a warm, spicy undertone that contrasts with the sweet and sour balance, providing an adventurous sip that heats up the traditional concoction.

Thyme Bee's Knees

Muddle a sprig of fresh thyme in the shaker before adding the other ingredients.

  • This herbal hit will introduce a savory and earthy element to the drink, offering a twist for those who enjoy a herbaceous prominence in their cocktails.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bee's Knees

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bee's Knees

What glassware is best used when serving the Bee's Knees cocktail?

The Bee's Knees cocktail is traditionally served in a chilled coupe glass.

How did the Bee's Knees cocktail get its name?

The name 'Bee's Knees' comes from a popular slang term during the Prohibition-era - a way of saying 'the best'.

What times of the year are most appropriate for serving the Bee's Knees cocktail?

While the Bee's Knees cocktail can certainly be enjoyed year-round, it's especially delightful in the summer because of its refreshing, citrusy notes.

Can the Bee's Knees be made into a mocktail?

Yes, one can create a alcohol-free variation by using a non-alcoholic gin or by simply leaving out the gin. Using non-alcoholic components, however, may alter the overall flavor of the drink.

Is there a specific gin brand that goes well with this cocktail?

The Bee's Knees cocktail is adaptable to a wide range of gin brands. The choice of gin can highly impact the overall taste, as different brands have different botanical profiles. A dry gin such as Beefeater or Tanqueray could work well.

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