Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

The Bee’s Knees cocktail is a classic Prohibition-Era cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup.

Bee's Knees Cocktail

The Bee’s Knees cocktail is a Prohibition-Era drink made with gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup (honey and water). It’s a simple classic cocktail, sweetened with real honey and balanced with citrus. It’s refreshing and perfect for gin lovers.

Other than being a Prohibition-Era cocktail, I can’t seem to find anything about it other than the meaning behind the drink’s name—a nod to the time in history it originated. Bee’s knees is a 1900’s slang term for ‘the best’ or ‘awesome’ and of course inspired by the honey syrup.

Bees Knee’s Ingredients

At the heart of the Bee’s Knees cocktail is a harmonious blend of three key ingredients: gin, lemon juice, and honey.

  1. Gin: The Bee’s Knees relies on the botanical brilliance of gin as its base spirit. The juniper-forward nature of gin adds depth and complexity to the cocktail, setting the stage for a balanced and refreshing drink.
  2. Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice brings a zesty and tangy punch to the Bee’s Knees. Its bright acidity cuts through the sweetness of the honey, creating a well-rounded flavor profile that is both refreshing and invigorating.
  3. Honey: The star of the show, honey, lends a luscious and silky sweetness to the cocktail. It provides a natural alternative to simple syrup and adds a distinct richness that perfectly complements the gin and lemon. Plus, honey brings its own unique bouquet of flavors, depending on the variety used, adding depth and complexity to the cocktail.

Best Gin for the Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees is not necessarily a gin-forward cocktail. The honey and lemon are very complimentary and will balance the drink. London dry gins such as Beefeater or Bombay Sapphire are both more classic juniper-forward options.

There are numerous modern-day gins on the market with a variety of flavors and infusions. Hendrick’s is very smooth and offers more citrus-forward notes. I like Bar Hill gin (made with juniper and raw honey), Plymouth gin, and The Botanist Islay Dry Gin. All are great options with well-balanced botanicals and flavors.

Honey Syrup for Bee's Knees Cocktail

How to Make Honey Syrup

Honey simple syrup is made with equal parts honey and water. Honey syrup can be used in cocktails similarly to classic simple syrup (sugar and water), adding unique character and sweetness. It’s easier to make than simple syrup as the honey will easily dissolve in warm water, unlike sugar.

To make honey syrup, heat 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. Stir in 1/4 cup of honey until fully dissolved. The proper consistency is a little thicker than water when at room temp.

You can make extra syrup and store it in the fridge for about a month. The honey syrup recipe above is good for about 1/2 a cup or 4 cocktails.

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Bee's Knees Cocktail
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Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: American


The bee’s knees cocktail is a classic Prohibition-Era cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounces honey syrup

honey syrup (makes 1/2 cup)

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. To make honey syrup, combine warm water and honey in a glass and stir until the honey is fully dissolved. I usually heat water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir in honey.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with plenty of ice. Shake or stir vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass.


Don’t like gin? This can also be made with vodka.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 219
  • Sugar: 17.9g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 0.2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: bee’s knees cocktail