Perfect for Father’s Day. Because Dad is, well, the bee’s knees.
In the US, Father’s Day is this Sunday, the 19th. If you’re searching for an appropriate celebratory drink, look no further.
This cocktail is a charmer. Not to mention a terrific thirst quencher for the hot weather we’re having now in much of the country.
“Bee’s knees” was 1920s flapper slang for “the best.” And this drink – like Dad – is.
Recipe: The Bee’s Knees Cocktail
The Bee’s Knees combines gin with fresh lemon juice and honey simple syrup.
No honey simple syrup on hand? Worry not, it’s easy to make (we include instructions in the Notes). If you don’t want to make a whole batch for just one drink, we also include instructions for substituting honey and water (do note, though, that honey simple syrup is also good in iced tea).
The Bee’s Knees is a close cousin of The White Lady Cocktail. Like that drink, the Bee’s Knees traditionally is served “up” – that is, shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. But we think it tastes better served on the rocks, in an Old-Fashioned glass. So that’s how we make it.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves 1.
- 2 ounces dry gin
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce honey simple syrup (see Notes for instructions and substitutions)
- 1 dash orange bitters (optional and not traditional, but really good)
- garnish of orange slice or wedge
- Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled (about 20 seconds).
- Strain the contents of the shaker into a rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice or wedge. Add a pair of straws and serve.
- To make honey simple syrup: Measure out equal quantities of honey and water (say, ½ cup of each). Place the honey in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the water until hot (it doesn’t have to be boiling; a microwave works well for this). Combine the hot water with the honey, and stir until the honey is dissolved. Pour the syrup into a squeeze bottle or an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Honey simple syrup is a variation on ordinary simple syrup (you can read about in this post), which is made by dissolving sugar in an equal quantity of water.
- If you don’t want to make an entire batch of honey simple syrup for this cocktail, you can substitute honey and hot water: Add a tablespoon each of honey and hot water to a cocktail shaker before you begin mixing the drink. Stir until the honey is dissolved. Then add the ice, gin, lemon juice, and bitters (if using). Shake, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
- If you prefer to serve this drink up, we suggest using 2 ounces of gin, but reducing the lemon juice and simple syrup to ½ ounce each. Omit the orange bitters. This recipe yields a drier drink with a more gin-forward flavor. We think this version works better in a cocktail glass.
- Orange bitters aren’t traditional in this cocktail. But they work extremely well when you serve this drink on the rocks. Most good liquor stores stock them. BTW, don't substitute Angostura bitters — their flavor is wrong for this drink.
- BTW, don’t omit the orange garnish. An extra hit of orange adds appreciably to this drink.
- Speaking of which, if you happen to have orange blossom honey on hand, that would be a great choice for making the honey simple syrup.
- When a cocktail recipe specifies gin, it’s usually understood to mean dry gin. “London” dry gin is the most common style (it originally was distilled in London), but there are other styles of dry gin that are fairly similar (Plymouth gin, for example). Don’t stress about whether a particular gin is London dry. Just buy a decent dry gin with a name label.
- The Bee’s Knees Cocktail dates (as you might have guessed) to the 1920s. Which was, of course, the era of Prohibition in the US.
- If you substitute white rum for gin in this drink, you’ve made a Honeysuckle.
- If you substitute Jamaican dark rum, you’ll have a Honey Bee.
Hitting on all Sixes
“Mmmm,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This drink could turn me into a flapper.”
“That’d be swell, doll face,” I said.
“So, are we doing 1920s slang today, my sheik?” said Mrs K R.
“Yes, my little bearcat,” I said. “Putting this drink to my kisser makes me feel jake.”
“Go chase yourself!” said Mrs K R. “Maybe I should put on my glad rags and we can motor our flivver to the nearest gin mill.”
“We’ve got all the giggle water we need right here,” I said. “Speaking of which, should I mix us another? This drink really is the berries.”
“That’d be the cat’s meow,” said Mrs K R. “But just one more. Otherwise, we could have the heebie-jeebies.”
True. Don’t want to get zozzled.
You may also enjoy reading about:
White Lady Cocktail
El Presidente Cocktail
Queen's Park Swizzle Cocktail
Sloe Gin Fizz
Or check out the index for more