Bee’s Knees Cocktail

The perfect combination of tart, sweet, and refreshing – the Bee’s Knees Cocktail is made with gin, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and homemade honey syrup!

Today’s recipe is the bee’s knees! Literally. I mean, kind of? Erm, we’re going to be making the Bee’s Knees Cocktail, one of my favorite Prohibition-era drinks!

I mean, we all have ‘em, right??!? J/k!

You’ll find that the Bee’s Knees cocktail recipe is bright, refreshing, and a tasty balance of tart lemon and sweet honey.

Ready to make your new favorite cocktail? Let’s shake this!

Gold cocktail shaker straining Bee’s Knees Cocktail into a glass 

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Ingredients

  • Gin – use your favorite gin, I use Bombay Sapphire Gin.
  • Lemon Juice – bottled is okay, but fresh-squeezed lemon juice is truly best for the Bee’s Knees cocktail
  • Honey Syrup – I make a quick, 5 min recipe for honey syrup, then store it in the fridge for all of my honey cocktail recipes.

What is a Bee’s Knees Cocktail

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

It’s also a refreshing and summery blend of sweet and tart flavors that balances well with gin.

Put simply, a Bee’s Knees is a Gold Rush made with gin. Or, a Whiskey Sour made with honey and gin.

Adding lemon garnish onto the rim of this drink recipe

The History of the Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Although no one is quite sure who invented the Bee’s Knees cocktail, it is said to have been invented by Frank Meier, the head bartender at the Hôtel Ritz Paris in 1921. [1]

Meier was the first head bartender at the Ritz, which later became famous for Bar Hemingway, one of the most well-known bars in the world.

Eight years later, a 1929 news article credits the Bee’s Knees cocktail to American socialite Margaret Brown.

This cocktail recipe served on a tray with lemon and honey

No matter who invented this drink, the name and the concoction remain the same: “Bee’s Knees” refers to Prohibition-era slang for “the best,” similar to “That’s the berries” or “cats meow.” [2]

A funny side note, “quilt” meant a warming drink, and “let’s blouse” meant “we’re leaving.”

Meanwhile, is it said that during the Prohibition, honey and lemon were often used in gin-based drinks to cover up the bitterness and smell of bathtub-made gin (aka bathtub gin). [3]

How to Make a Bee’s Knees Cocktail

First thing you want to do before making a this cocktail is checking to make sure you have honey syrup. If not, make this super simple, 5-minute recipe for honey syrup.

Jar of homemade honey syrup, a key ingredients in the bees knees cocktail

Then, fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice.

Next, pour in all Bee’s Knees cocktail ingredients: gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey syrup.

Now, shake the shaker until all ingredients are very well mixed and chilled.

Then, strain this cocktail mixture into a coupe glass.

Two photos showing How to make a Bee’s Knees Cocktail – straining cocktail into a glass 

For the finale, pinch a lemon twist over the cocktail to express the oils over the cocktail.

A photo showing How to make a Bee’s Knees Cocktail – expressing oil out of lemon garnish into glass

Hang a lemon twist on the rim of the coupe glass. Then, sip and enjoy the best Bee’s Knees cocktail recipe!

Two photos showing How to make this drink recipe – adding garnish 

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Tools You Need

It’s the Bees Knees!

Be honest, you like “bee’s knees” better that “cat’s meow.” Me too. Heh heh. Either way, if you make this recipe, take a pic and share it on Instagram and Facebook, tagging me at @beamingbaker and #beamingbaker. I can’t wait!

Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter ❤️

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Bee's Knees Cocktail in a glass with a cocktail garnish

Bee’s Knees Cocktail


The perfect combination of tart, sweet, and refreshing – the Bee’s Knees Cocktail is made with gin, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and homemade honey syrup!



Tools Needed

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Ingredients


  • Lemon twist



  1. Add gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Learn how to make honey syrup.
  2. Shake until very chilled, about 20-30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass.
  4. Pinch the lemon twist to squeeze and express (release) oils over the cocktail. Hang the lemon twist on the rim of the glass. Sip and enjoy.


  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: American

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Did you make this recipe? Take a pic and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #beamingbaker & tag @beamingbaker. I’d love to see it!

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  1. This drink was so refreshing and I loved the sweet honey flavor. The honey syrup was the perfect addition! Thanks for the fun recipe 🙂

  2. Perfect drink recipe for gin! Gin has a floral taste to me so adding honey and lemon is a great addition.