The Bees Knees Cocktail is a classic prohibition-era cocktail and one of our favorite gin-based drinks, transporting you back to an era where jazz and speakeasies were the “bees knees.” 

Dried lemon floating atop a bee's knees.

Looking for the best bees knees cocktail?

Looking for a refreshingly vibrant gin cocktail recipe that’s easy to make yet packs plenty of flavor intrigue? The Bees Knees is the perfect sipper, blending the botanicals of the finest dry gin with tart lemon and a lush honey sweetener. Each drop whispers tales of the Prohibition era, infusing every sip with the mystique of speakeasy classics.

Like other prohibition era cocktails such as the the boulevardier, a Mary Pickford, and an old fashioned, this bees knees cocktail is a classic drink with a rich history. If you’re ready to take your happy hour up a notch, grab some simple ingredients, and make this prohibition-era drink. 

What Is a Bee’s Knees Cocktail?

Step back in time to the secret speakeasies of the Prohibition days, where whispers of secret passwords and jazz-filled nights permeated the air. It was during these rebellious times that the Bee’s Knees cocktail emerged—a concoction as mysterious and alluring as the era itself. Legend has it that this simple cocktail was born out of necessity, crafted to mask the harsh taste of bathtub gin with the sweet nectar of honey and the tangy zest of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

As hidden gatherings flourished behind closed doors, the Bee’s Knees became the drink of choice—a symbol of defiance in the face of adversity. With each sip, revelers reveled in the illicit thrill of indulgence, savoring the fine balance of flavors that defined this classic cocktail. Today, the Bee’s Knees lives on as a testament to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties—a taste of rebellion, innovation, and the sweet victory of triumphing over prohibition’s dry reign.

Side shot of a coupe glass filled to the rim with a frosty and refreshing bee's knees cocktail.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • REFRESHING – the combination of honey, gin, and fresh lemon juice creates a light and sweet drink. 
  • EASY – this recipe only requires 3 simple ingredients that seamlessly come together for a well-balanced drink. 

What You Need to Make a Bees Knees Cocktail

  • Gin – use your choice of gin for this recipe but make sure it’s not too sweet.
  • Honey Syrup – we use store-bought honey syrup, but you can use homemade honey syrup if you like. 
  • Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed is best. 
  • Ice
  • Dehydrated lemon slice

How to Make a Bees Knees Cocktail

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice to the shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe glass and serve with a dehydrated lemon slice.

Expert Recipe Tips


  • To ensure a silky smooth texture, double strain your cocktail after shaking to remove any small ice shards and pulp, resulting in a velvety consistency.
  • For an added touch of sophistication, chill your cocktail glass in the freezer before serving. A frosty glass will keep your Bee’s Knees refreshingly cold from the first sip to the last.
  • Elevate the presentation of your Bee’s Knees cocktail with a decorative lemon twist. Express the oils from the twist over the drink to release its aromatic essence, enhancing the overall sensory experience.
  • Get creative with your garnishes! Consider adding a sprig of fresh rosemary or a few edible flowers for an extra layer of aroma and visual appeal.
  • Don’t be afraid to customize the recipe to suit your palate. Adjust the ratio of honey syrup to lemon juice to achieve your desired level of sweetness and tartness.
Table with coupe glass of gin and lemon bee's knees cocktail.

How to serve this cocktail

Served in a chilled coupe glass, each sip is a journey back in time to the glamorous halls of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, where the Bees Knees reign supreme. 

As you savor the vibrant flavors of your freshly crafted Bee’s Knees cocktail, you’re not just enjoying a drink – you’re sipping on a piece of history, with each sip whispering tales of the Prohibition era and the ingenuity of cocktail culture. If you try this recipe, please rate the recipe card and leave a comment down below to help out the next reader! 

Side shot of a coupe glass filled with a vibrant bee's knees cocktail.

Bees Knees Cocktail

This Bees Knees cocktail recipe combines botanical gin with tart lemon juice and a lush honey syrup for a bright, refreshing drink.
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Cocktail Recipes
American
Author: Kita
5 minutes
Serves: 1

Equipment

  • cocktail shaker
  • Strainer
  • spoon
  • Coupe Glass

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Honey Syrup
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • Ice
  • Dehydrated lemon slice

Instructions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the gin, honey syrup and lemon juice to the shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe glass and serve with a dehydrated lemon slice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.

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Recipe FAQs

  1. Gather Your Ingredients: You’ll need honey and hot water. Opt for high-quality honey for the best flavor.
  2. Mix It Up: In a small saucepan, combine equal parts honey and hot water. For example, if you’re using 1 cup of honey, add 1 cup of hot water.
  3. Dissolve the Honey: Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir the mixture gently until the honey is completely dissolved into the water. This usually takes just a few minutes.
  4. Cool It Down: Once the honey is fully dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
  5. Store It: Transfer the honey syrup to a clean, airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.

The “bees knees” is a prohibition-era slang term used to describe something excellent, outstanding, or of the highest quality.

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