The running joke around here is that I drink like a teenager discovering alcohol for the first time. Throughout college and most of my early twenties, the only booze stocked in my bar were Disaronno and Malibu, and my favorite drink to make at parties was a modification of a “birthday cake” shot invented by a friend that involved Frangelico, Stoli Vanilla, and pineapple juice. But now that I’m in my late twenties, and my body no longer processes sugar the way it did in my youth (which was by shouting “more, more more!”), I’ve been on the lookout for a sweet-but-not-too-sweet cocktail, preferably made with white liquor, to replace the dessert drinks of my youth and to serve as my go-to night cap.
I had the opportunity to try a Bee’s Knees while Meg and I were at Alt Summit in June. It turns out, this cocktail totally delivers on its name (rumor has it that the prohibition-era recipe used honey to mask the taste of bathtub gin, which also makes this cocktail badass). The Bee’s Knees is sweet but not saccharine, and the lemon makes it a really refreshing cocktail for summer or fall weddings and for guests whose tastes run on the lighter side of the booze spectrum. Plus, my Nana thanks you for including a gin cocktail on the menu.
We’ve already written about how to prepare cocktails in big batches in advance, so review that if you need to. All cocktail recipes are essentially ratios, and just like with our previous drinks, we’ll give you the recipe for one cocktail (which one should always have, in case of I-need-this-tonight emergencies) and then the basic ratio for scaling up.
Bee’s Knees Recipe
2 oz gin
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz honey simple syrup
Bee’s knees Ratio
2 parts gin, 3/4 part lemon juice, 3/4 part honey simple syrup
For 100 Cocktails you need
200 oz gin
75 oz lemon juice
75 oz honey simple syrup
To Make Honey simple syrup
Bring a 1:1 ratio of honey and water to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes, dissolving the honey, then remove from the heat. Refrigerate.
You may need to do some math at the store when you are buying your booze. Some spirits are sold in ounces, others in liters, others in quarts, pints, or gallons. We highly encourage using this smartphone app or this one, or this website for your conversions.
Note on Garnish: We used honeycomb for these photos, but let’s be real. That would be a sticky mess at a wedding. A lemon twist or lemon wheel would work just as well. Or skip the garnish altogether, because these aren’t going to last long enough to need one.