Bees Knees

No prohibition-era cocktail menu would be complete without a Bee’s Knees, a classic made with Gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey. The name, as you may have guessed, comes from the prohibition-era slang, meaning “the best.” As with many cocktails from this time in history, the Bee’s Knees was invented as a way to hide the scent and flavor of poor quality homemade alcohols—in this case, bathtub gun. The addition of honey was previously seen as bizarre; cocktails of this era instead used plain sugar. Now, drinkers don’t have to do much by way of covering up the alcohol taste, but the combination of lemon and honey was built to last. For a fun twist, try topping yours with a float of dry champagne.



  • 2 oz gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz honey



  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, and honey in a shaker.
  2. Add ice to container and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into large, chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel. For some extra glamour, top with a dry champagne float and enjoy.


This simple cocktail can be made easier with a few honey-related twists. If your honey is too thick, it may be diluted (1:1) with warm water to thin the consistency. If you want to up the sweetness, dilute your honey (1:1) with simple syrup instead of water. For an added twist, add a sprig of basil as garnish instead of the traditional lemon peel.