It’s wintery and rainy here in Sydney, so I’m starting with a warming, citrus and honey infused delight. The Bee’s Knees is a prohibition era cocktail. As with many cocktails from this era and earlier, they are designed to mask the flavour of poor quality gin, but that’s no excuse not to use good gin these days. Now I’m not suggesting to mix your top shelf gin with honey syrup, save that for a martini, but use a decent mid shelf gin for your cocktails. Beefeater and Tanqueray are good, punchy dry gins that are versatile enough for most cocktails where a specific gin is not listed.
For this recipe you’ll need to make a honey syrup. You can try to dissolve straight honey into the gin, but a honey syrup will give you a better and more consistent result.
1 part honey
1 part boiling water
Place honey in a heatproof jug, pour over boiling water. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Cool then pour into a clean dry bottle. Honey is antibacterial so it shouldn’t go off.
20 mL honey syrup
15mL fresh lemon juice
Combine these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
In the 1920s the expression the bee’s knees meant just the best, what do you think? Sound like the bee’s knees to you? Or perhaps the cat’s pyjamas?