Gin, lemon juice, orange juice & honey simple syrup combine in this delicious Bees Knees cocktail. Served straight up in a martini glass.
Lately, I have been noticing lots of cocktails featuring honey popping up on bar menus around town. Most feature some type of citrus along with the honey and are served straight up. Perhaps bartenders are taking a cue from the Hot Toddy – A classic wintertime drink consisting of whiskey, hot water, honey and lemon and believed to cure colds.
It does make sense though. Honey is a sweetener and can function in any cocktail much like a simple syrup would. As the base for this Bees Knees Drink, I’m making a honey simple syrup.
The reason we’re turning the honey into a syrup is so that it won’t clump up when you add it to your cocktail. Instead, it will incorporate nicely and lightly sweeten your drink.
Bee’s Knees cocktail history
According to Gin Foundry:
The Bee’s Knees is thought to have emerged during Prohibition era America, when bathtub gin was all the rage. Adding spoonfuls of honey to such bitter alcohol certainly would have helped to mask the harshness, and when mixed with the lemon would create a more appetizing and sweet concoction.– The Gin Foundry
How To make honey simple syrup:
- Simply combine equal parts honey and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until well blended. Here’s a full post on how to make simple syrup on the stove or in the microwave.
How long does honey simple syrup last?
- This honey simple syrup will last, stored in the refrigerator, for up to one month.
What is in a Bees Knees drink?
- Honey Simple Syrup
- Orange Juice
- Lemon Juice
How to make a Bees Knees Cocktail:
- Combine honey simple syrup, gin, lemon juice and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy!
Bee’s Knees Cocktail Variations:
- If you’re not a fan of gin, you could also use vodka or bourbon in this cocktail.
- Want a sweeter cocktail? Simply add more honey simple syrup.
- Add a hint of floral by adding a splash of St. Germain.
- Make a lavender bees knees by infusing your simple syrup with lavender.
- If you divide your cocktail between two champagne flutes and top it with sparkling wine, you’ve essentially got a French 75 cocktail.
- For a drink that’s not as strong, simply add a splash of soda or tonic water and serve it over ice.
More cocktail recipes:
- Vanilla Bean & Fig Cocktail
- Aperol Spritz
- Paloma Cocktail with Honey Simple Syrup
- Blackberry Moscow Mule with Elderflower
- Harvest Moon Applejack Cocktail
Bees Knees Recipe
Honey Simple Syrup
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup water
Bees Knees Cocktail
- 2 ounces honey simple syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Honey Simple Syrup
- Combine water and honey in a small saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Combine 2 ounces of the honey simple syrup, gin, lemon juice and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a small chilled cocktail glass and serve.
- Reserve remaining honey simple syrup for more cocktails.
If you loved this Bees Knees Cocktail recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished cocktail and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings.
This recipe was originally published in January 2015. It was updated in April 2019 to add new photographs and update the content. The original cocktail recipe remains the same. Enjoy!