Bee’s Knees Cocktail


A Bee's Knees cocktail is made with only three ingredients: gin, honey, and lemon. Simple, sweet, and super delicious!

Photography Credit: Nancy Mitchell

You don’t need a complicated cocktail to have a delicious one. A Bee’s Knees cocktail is made with just three ingredients – gin, honey, and lemon – but together they create a magical drink.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a gin drinker, a Bee’s Knees is worth trying. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour, with herbal notes from the gin and a rich, sweet flavor from the honey

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What Kind of Gin Should I Use?

The Bee’s Knees does not demand fancy ingredients. While I wouldn’t recommend anything with a handle or in a plastic bottle, any of your mid-range gins will do the trick. Broker’s, Boodles, and Bombay are all nice examples.

What Kind of Honey Should I Use?

There are so many different kinds of honey out there – so, so many. Yes, you can absolutely use the honey that comes in a bear at your local grocery store, and that will make a fine drink. But if you’re really into (or have been itching to try) some artisanal or local or whathaveyou honey, this is a perfect application.

It’s a lot of fun to see how different kinds of honey change the character of the cocktail. I like the cocktail with a darker honey, which adds a more robust, almost molasses-y flavor. If you want to buy something online, the Washington Buckwheat honey from Bee Raw and the Aroeira honey from Bee Seasonal are both great choices.

Bee's Knees cocktail with gin and honey

What Kind of Glass Should I Use?

I’ve seen this served in a cocktail glass, no ice, but I prefer it in an old fashioned glass, with one big ice cube. This keeps the drink cool, although it will water it down if you’re not a fast drinker.

Try a Twist!

As I’ve said, this drink only needs three ingredients, but you can add other ingredients if you want to mix it up. My favorite way to make a Bee’s Knees is with a dash of lavender bitters, which adds a nice floral twist to the proceedings. If you have a favorite kind of bitters, feel free to experiment! That kind of discovery is part of the fun of making drinks.

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Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail

The honey syrup makes enough for 8 drinks. To make enough honey syrup for just one drink, combine 1 tablespoon (or 1/2 oz) honey with 2 tablespoons (or 1 oz) of hot water.


For the honey syrup (makes 1 cup, enough for 8 cocktails)

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup hot water

For the cocktail 

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce honey syrup
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Lavender bitters (optional)
  • Lemon peel, for garnish


1 Make the honey syrup: Combine the honey and hot water. Stir until incorporated. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to a month or more.

2 Make the drink: Add the gin, 1 ounce of the honey syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake for about 30 seconds, or until a frost forms on the shaker. Put a single large ice cube into a cocktail or old fashioned glass. Strain drink into a glass and garnish with lemon peel. Enjoy!

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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One Comment

No ImageBee’s Knees Cocktail

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Marie

    Good timing! I’m having my daughter’s first birthday with a bee theme this weekend. This will make a good adult option for drinks. Seems like a lot of honey, so I’m opting for a little less than the recipe calls for.


Bee's Knees simple cocktail recipe with gin and honey and lemonBee’s Knees Cocktail