Queen Bee Cocktail Recipe

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Queen Bee 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 Queen Bee cocktail is a delightful mix of honey, lemon, and gin, with a touch of sparkling wine. It was first created in the 1920s during the Prohibition era, as a way to mask the taste of homemade gin. This cocktail has since become a favorite among those who appreciate a sweet and refreshing drink with a touch of sophistication. Perfect for garden parties, afternoon teas, and elegant soirees, the Queen Bee is sure to impress.

  • Originated in the 1920s
  • Popular among the upper class
  • A favorite for outdoor events and elegant gatherings

How Queen Bee Tastes?

The Queen Bee cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and slightly floral flavors. The honey adds a rich sweetness, while the lemon provides a zesty tang. The gin contributes a subtle herbal note, and the sparkling wine adds a touch of effervescence and dryness.

Interesting facts about Queen Bee

  • The name 'Queen Bee' is a nod to the use of honey in the cocktail, as well as its regal and sophisticated nature.
  • During Prohibition, honey was often used to sweeten and mask the taste of homemade spirits.
  • The Queen Bee is sometimes served with a honeycomb garnish, as a tribute to its key ingredient.


A few good options for Queen Bee are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


  • Why: Gin brings a complexity with its botanical flavors that provide a beautiful base for the cocktail. Balance is key with 1.5 oz, as too much can overpower the other flavors, and too little can result in a lackluster drink.
  • Without It: No gin, no fun! You'd lack the herbal notes that define the cocktail’s character.
  • Alternatives: Vodka for a cleaner taste, or a light rum for a sweeter touch, changing the cocktail's profile considerably.

Alex Green

Honey Syrup

  • Why: The honey syrup lends a rich sweetness and a smooth texture. At 0.75 oz, it's enough to sweeten without becoming cloying.
  • Without It: You'd miss the signature sweet profile of the Queen Bee; the cocktail could turn too tart.
  • Alternatives: Agave syrup could be used for a lighter sweetness, or maple syrup for a deeper flavor.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

  • Why: The tang from 0.75 oz lemon juice provides a refreshing acidity that balances the sweetness of the honey syrup.
  • Without It: The drink would be too sweet and one-dimensional.
  • Alternatives: Lime juice could offer a tart edge, whereas orange juice would make it sweeter and more mellow.

Mary Mitkina

Sparkling Wine

  • Why: Adds a celebratory pop and lightness to the drink. The 1 oz measurement ensures a balanced effervescence without diluting the core flavors.
  • Without It: The cocktail would lose its fizzy charm and the resulting mouthfeel would be flatter.
  • Alternatives: Prosecco for a sweeter fizz, or club soda for a less alcoholic version while maintaining the sparkle.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist

  • Why: Aesthetics aside, the essential oils released from the lemon twist add a zesty aroma which enhances the overall experience.
  • Without It: The cocktail would still taste great, but you'd miss that extra sensory level.
  • Alternatives: An orange twist for a sweeter aroma or a sprig of thyme for an herbaceous note.

Emma Rose

Honeycomb (Optional)

  • Why: As an optional garnish, it's a sophisticated touch that nods to the 'queen bee' and adds a hint of honeyed waxiness if it's nibbled on.
  • Without It: Purely decorative, the drink certainly holds its own without the honeycomb.
  • Alternatives: Edible flowers or bee pollen can also highlight the cocktail's botanical nature.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Queen Bee Drink

  1. Combine gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker
  2. Fill shaker with ice and shake well until chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass
  4. Top with sparkling wine
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and, optionally, a small piece of honeycomb

Pro Tips

  • Chill your glass before serving to keep the cocktail colder for longer.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a brighter, fresher flavor.
  • If you can't find honey syrup, you can make your own by combining equal parts honey and water and heating until the honey dissolves.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The salty and savory flavors of cured meats and cheeses complement the sweet and acidic notes of the Queen Bee cocktail.
  • Smoked Salmon Canapés: The smokiness of the salmon pairs nicely with the botanicals of the gin and the sweetness of the honey.

Main Courses

  • Roast Chicken: A classic pairing, the citrus elements of the cocktail cut through the richness of the chicken.
  • Sea Bass: The light and flaky fish goes well with the bright notes of the lemon and the effervescence of the sparkling wine.


  • Lemon Tart: Accentuate the citrus notes in the cocktail with a zesty and creamy lemon tart.
  • Cheese Plate: Opt for milder cheeses that won’t overpower the delicate balance of the Queen Bee.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Sparkling Apple Cider: Complements the honey flavors while staying in the effervescent theme.
  • Chamomile Tea: Echoes the floral notes of honey and is a soothing counterpart to the bright cocktail.

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What you could change in Queen Bee

  • Vodka can be used in place of gin for a smoother, less herbal flavor.
  • Agave syrup can be used as a substitute for honey syrup.
  • Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice for a different citrus twist.

Explore all drinks starting with Q here

And of course - twists🍹

Rosemary Queen Bee

  • Ingredients: Add a sprig of rosemary into the cocktail shaker.
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but shake the ingredients with rosemary to infuse the cocktail.
  • Taste: The rosemary provides an earthy, piney flavor that pairs wonderfully with the other botanicals.

Honey Lavender Bee

  • Ingredients: Use lavender-infused honey syrup instead of regular honey syrup.
  • Recipe: Create a lavender-infused honey syrup by steeping fresh or dried lavender in warm honey and water, then use in the same proportions as the original recipe.
  • Taste: The lavender adds a floral note which complements the gin’s aroma and makes for a more complex, refined drink.

Spicy Queen Bee

  • Ingredients: Add a small slice of jalapeno to the cocktail shaker.
  • Recipe: Muddle the jalapeno in the shaker before adding the other ingredients and shaking.
  • Taste: The spice from the jalapeno adds a zesty kick that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the honey and the tang of the lemon.

In case you forgot basics how to make Queen Bee

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 Queen Bee

Which type of gin is best to use for the Queen Bee cocktail?

The choice of gin can vary based on personal taste. However, a classic London Dry Gin is often recommended for its strong juniper flavor which complements the flavors of the honey and lemon.

What type of sparkling wine would be best for this cocktail?

A dry sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Brut Champagne, is suggested to add complexity without making the drink overly sweet.

Can I make this cocktail in advance for a party?

Yes, you can prepare the base mixture of gin, honey syrup and lemon juice in advance and refrigerate. Add the sparkling wine and garnishes just before serving.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of this cocktail?

Yes, you can replace the gin with non-alcoholic gin. Omit the sparkling wine or opt for a non-alcoholic version.

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