We don’t know much about the history of this cocktail, other than apocryphal stories about its invention as a way to cover up the acrid flavors of Prohibition-era bathtub gin. It’s first mentioned in print in 1948, in David Embry’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Embry talks some trash about the original equal-parts recipe for the drink, before suggesting it’s better as a variation on the gin sour.
This is a recipe that lends itself well to herbal or floral gins, or Old Tom gin (which is a bit sweeter than your typical London Dry). If you go the Old Tom route, drop the honey down a tad to compensate for the additional sweetness.
- 2 parts Gin or Botanical gin or Old Tom gin or Aged gin
- 1 part Honey syrup
- ½ part Lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You may want to double-strain the drink to remove any little bits of lemon pulp.
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- The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embry
- Breakdown of the history of the Bee’s Knees and comparison of recipes by Reddit user Hebug