Bee's Knees

Difford's Guide
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There are approximately 172 calories in one serving of Bee's Knees.

Styles & Flavours

Bee's Knees image

Serve in a

Coupe glass


Orange zest twist

How to make:

SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

Alternatively, if making with raw honey (rather than syrup), STIR 4 spoons honey with 22.5ml (¾oz) lemon juice and 10ml (⅓oz) orange juice in base of shaker until honey is dissolved. Add 60ml (2oz gin), SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

2 fl oz Rutte Dry Gin
3/4 fl oz Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 fl oz Honey syrup (3 honey to 1 water)
1/3 fl oz Orange juice (freshly squeezed)

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The combination of honey and lemon suggests flu relief but don't wait for an ailment before trying this soothing concoction.

The beneficial addition of a splash of orange juice to a Bee's Knees (classically it's just gin, lemon and honey) comes from David Embury's 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks where he says, "The addition of a small amount of orange juice makes for an interesting variation".


With light white rum in place of gin, this drink becomes a Honeysuckle, and with Jamaican rum, it becomes a Honey Bee.


For years the Bee's Knees was thought to have emerged in America during Prohibition when it was said the lemon juice and honey in this cocktail masked the poor quality of gin. However, thanks to an article in the 22nd April 1929 edition of the Standard Union from Brooklyn, New York, reporting on the then-latest trend in Paris, France for women's-only bars, this cocktail's true origins would appear to lie with an American millionairess partying in Paris.

Cocktail historian Jared Brown uncovered the article, the penultimate paragraph of which says, "The Bee's Knees is an invention of Mrs JJ Brown of Denver and Paris, widow of the famous miner, and is a rather sweet combination including honey and lemon."

Mrs Margaret Brown (born Margaret Tobin in 1867 and married to James Joseph Brown in 1866) was an American socialite and philanthropist who, since her death in 1932, has become better known as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". Her colourful life, including surviving the Titanic disaster (hence her nickname), was re-enacted in the 1960 Broadway musical and subsequent 1964 film.

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