Bee's Knees Cocktail

Bee's Knees Cocktail

 The Spruce Eats

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
218 Calories
0g Fat
19g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 218
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 0g
Calcium 5mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The bee's knees is a delicious Prohibition-era cocktail. The recipe adds a little sweet and sour to gin and, with just three ingredients, it's incredibly easy to mix up.

Some stories claim that the bee's knees was concocted because the honey masked the odor of the liquor. While that may be the case, one has to wonder if it really did the trick given some of the stories about the often pungent bathtub gins circulating during that time.

With today's variety of gins, the bee's knees is a delightful cocktail with fun possibilities. A London dry gin will create a completely different profile than one of the new American-style gins. Each gin has its own blend of botanicals that will be accented quite nicely with the lemon and honey, so it's a unique experience with every drink.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce honey syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice (fresh)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bee's Knees Cocktail Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    Liquor being poured in a cocktail shaker
     The Spruce
  3. Shake well.

    Cocktail shaker
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  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Pouring a cocktail
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  5. Serve and enjoy!

    Bee's Knees Cocktail
     The Spruce


  • Honey syrup is simply honey diluted with a little water to make it a more fluid and easier to mix into cocktails. The typical ratio is two or three parts honey to one part water, and you can make as much as you like at one time. Stir it to a uniform consistency and add it to the shaker.

Recipe Variation

Every bar and restaurant will put their own spin on a great cocktail like the bee's knees. It's such a simple recipe that affords itself to some experimentation.

For example, Hard Rock International has bartenders shake up 2 ounces Hendrick's Gin, 1 1/2 ounce sweet and sour, and 1 ounce of honey syrup. They also garnish it with a lemon wedge. It's a fun twist on the original that is perfect for many of the less-traditional gins.

Sweet and Sour to Taste

You will notice that these two recipes invert the sweet and sour ingredients. The first uses more sweetener and less juice while the second concentrates on the sour. There are two reasons for this:

  • Each recipe was adapted to the style of gin used. A traditional London dry gin with the juniper-forward flavor profile is best with a little less citrus. The Hard Rock's version opts for the softer profile of the cucumber-forward Hendrick's, which can take a little more tartness.
  • The other reason lies with the sour ingredient itself. Sour mix (aka sweet and sour) is a citrus-flavored simple syrup, so it naturally has some sweetness that plays down the tartness of the citrus. This means you'll need less honey syrup to create a well-balanced drink.

Keep these two factors in mind as you play around with the bee's knees. It's likely that each new gin you pour will require a little more or a little less of either ingredient.

How Strong Is the Bee's Knees?

As with many classic cocktails, the bee's knees is not a very light drink. It has a high concentration of alcohol and the syrup and juice do little to tame it down. However, it is a full-flavored drink and comes in about average for this style, with an alcohol content around 21 percent ABV (42 proof).