The Bees Knees Cocktail

A few weeks ago, when it was still bitterly cold in Boston, I met a friend for after-work drinks at 5 pm. I stormed into the bar, wrapped in a hat and scarf and huge coat, with my nose running and my eyes watering, and threw myself onto a bar stool.

“You good?”

The bartender peered at me cautiously.

“I NEED SPRING RIGHT NOW,” I growled as I slowly removed layer after layer of clothing from my body. I later found out that it was 22 degrees that night, but it felt like a whopping 2 degrees F with the wind chill. In March.

“I’M SO OVER IT,” I declared dramatically.

He gave me a look of pity. “You need alcohol.”


“What do you usually drink?”


“I’m on it.”

Five minutes later I was sipping on a Bees Knees, which the bartender called his best attempt at “spring in a glass.”

I later found out that during prohibition, this drink became popular because people were making bathtub gin that tasted horrible. To cover up the bad taste, they added lemon and honey to the gin… and this wonderful cocktail was born. So even if you don’t like gin, you will like this. I promise.

The Bees Knees Cocktail

Makes one stronger cocktail, or two single-shot cocktails. Multiply as needed.

  • 2 shots of gin
  • 1 shot of lemon juice
  • 1/2 shot of honey

Add all three ingredients to a glass and stir vigorously with a spoon to dissolve the honey. If you have a shaker, even better – give it a good mix and shake. Then serve over ice in a chilled glass, if you have one. If you prefer your drinks more bitter or more sweet, adjust the honey and lemon accordingly once you’ve nailed the basic recipe.

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