Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe

Step back to the roaring 1920s and indulge in the elegance of the Bee’s Knees cocktail, a gem from the Prohibition era that’s still adored today. This classic libation, popularized in secret speakeasies, relies on three exceptional ingredients: gin, honey, and lemon. 

Frank Meier, an Austrian-Jewish bartender, concocted the first Bee’s Knees cocktail in 1921 at the opening of the Ritz’s Café Parisian in Paris. Picture yourself by the pool, at a garden party, or on a balcony, holding a coupe glass adorned with a flower or a twist of lemon, and you’ve got the essence of the Bee’s Knees captured perfectly.

bees knees cocktail recipe

Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Australia
Servings 1 drink


  • Cocktail shaker


  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup 1:1 ratio of honey to water
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon twist for garnish


  • Prepare the honey syrup by combining equal parts honey and hot water. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Let it cool before using.
    3/4 oz honey syrup
  • Add the gin, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice to a cocktail shaker.
    2 oz gin
  • Fill the shaker with ice.
  • Shake the mixture vigorously for 15 seconds to chill and properly mix the ingredients.
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
  • To garnish, twist a lemon peel over the drink to release its oils. Drop the twist into the glass.
  • Serve the Bee's Knees cocktail, and enjoy!



Pro Tips for Success:

  • Since this cocktail has only a few ingredients, using quality ingredients is essential. Choose a gin you enjoy, and use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Adjust the honey syrup to your taste. If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, you can increase the amount of honey syrup.
  • To enhance the visual appeal, consider using a lemon twist that has been flamed. Hold a flame over the lemon twist for a second to release the oils and create a small burst of flame.
  • Suppose you're a fan of floral notes. In that case, you can experiment with different types of honey to add subtle variations to the flavor profile.
Keyword Bees Knees cocktail recipe

bees knees cocktail poster

What gin is best for bee’s knees?

When choosing gin for your Bee’s Knees cocktail, you should choose one with a harmonious blend of juniper, citrus, and herbal notes that will help add a layer of flavor to the honey and lemon in the cocktail. Here are some of the most commonly used gins:

  • London Dry gins are known for their traditional and juniper-forward flavor profiles. They often have a clean, crisp taste with a good balance of botanicals. Brands like Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Bombay Sapphire are popular options.
  • American Dry Gin tends to be slightly more varied in botanical profiles. Brands like Aviation, New Amsterdam, and Brooklyn Gin can bring a unique twist to your Bee’s Knees cocktail.
  • Gins with floral or herbal botanicals can add an interesting layer of complexity to your cocktail. Brands like Hendrick’s (with its cucumber and rose notes) or The Botanist (with various botanicals from Islay) can create a delightful twist on the traditional recipe.
  • Gins are aged in oak barrels, similar to whiskey, imparting additional depth and flavor complexity to the spirit. Brands like Barrel Expedition or Rusty Blade Gin could provide an intriguing depth to your Bee’s Knees cocktail.

How to make honey syrup for bee’s knees?

Making honey syrup for a Bee’s Knees cocktail is quite simple. Here’s how you can make honey syrup:

Honey syrup recipe

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Course Drinks


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water


  • In a small saucepan, combine equal parts honey and water. For example, you can use 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and gently stir the mixture. The goal is to dissolve the honey into the water and create a smooth syrup. You don't need to bring it to a boil; warm it enough to mix the honey and water.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat once the honey is fully dissolved and the mixture is well combined.
  • Allow the honey syrup to cool to room temperature to ensure it's ready to use in your cocktail without affecting the overall temperature of the drink.
  • Transfer the cooled honey syrup to a clean glass jar or bottle with a lid. You can store the honey syrup in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.


When making the cocktail, replace the plain honey in the recipe with an equal amount of honey syrup for a consistent sweetness and easy mixing.
Keyword Honey syrup recipe