A proper Bees Knees Cocktail features three simple ingredients – honey syrup, lemon juice and gin. This springtime spirit is sweet, tangy and so smooth to sip on. Perfect for Easter or any other spring celebration you have planned!

A bees knees cocktail is garnished with a lemon twist.

Bees Knees Cocktail

I’m just going to get this out of the way right off the bat… Yes, this cocktail really is the bees knees! It’s earned that name not just because it’s so amazing, but also because of the honey syrup used to sweeten it. To me, honey and lemon just scream springtime, but this cocktail is really wonderful to sip on all summer long. It’s just so vibrant and sunny!

Even those who aren’t huge gin fans may find themselves enjoying this smooth cocktail. The honey syrup sweetens everything perfectly and balances out the tangy lemon juice and bold gin. Sometimes, the best cocktails only feature 3 ingredients! You can’t go wrong with a simple, classic recipe like this. It’s foolproof and always turns out pretty perfect.

Not sure where to buy honey syrup? No worries – we’ll be making our own! It’s a very easy combo of honey and water. You just have to mix the honey and water together and warm it in the microwave until a smooth syrup is formed. It couldn’t be easier to toss together and it really lends the best flavor to this bees knees cocktail recipe.

Honey syrup is being poured into a cocktail glass.

How to Make a Bees Knees Cocktail

This bee’s knees cocktail recipe is so easy to make! For even more information about ingredient measurements and step by step instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.

  1. Make the honey syrup. Combine equal parts honey and water in a microwave safe bowl or small saucepan. You can either warm it in the microwave or on your stove top just until the honey and water mix together to form a smooth syrup. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Peel the lemons. You’ll need the juice the lemons, but before you do, let’s create our garnishes! Use a vegetable peeler or channel knife and peel off a strip (or several strips) of the lemon skin. Use that to create the twist as a garnish.
  3. Make the cocktail. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the honey syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice and gin. Close the lid to the shaker tightly and shake vigorously until the mixture inside is nice and cold. Strain the drink into your favorite glass.
  4. Garnish and serve. Twist the lemon peel over the cocktail to create the twist shape and to release some of the oils. Drop it into the glass and enjoy!
A lemon twist is garnishing a single glass.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s what’s in a bee’s knees cocktail:

  • Honey Syrup – This is made by combining honey and water then heating until smooth. I recommend using a good quality honey that you really like the flavor of. Use leftover honey to make a charming honey thyme peach galette!
  • Lemon Juice – It’s important to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the very best flavor. Also, you’re going to want to garnish with the peel anyways to get that stunning twist.
  • Gin – Use a good quality/middle of the road gin. As a general rule of thumb, your cocktails will only ever be as good as the liquor used to make them. Use the rest of the bottle deliciously by making lemonade gin mojitos!

Note: If you’re like me and you find yourself obsessed with the honey syrup, be sure to also make some lavender simple syrup.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Sure thing! Because there’s no carbonation in the drink you don’t have to worry about any bubbles going flat. Just store your bees knees cocktail(s) in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. However, I don’t recommend garnishing with the lemon twist until it’s time to drink! That way it stays nice and fresh.

Two glasses of bees knees cocktails are placed in front of a bottle of gin.

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A bees knees cocktail is garnished with a lemon twist.

Get the Recipe: Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe

The Bee's Knees is a classic Prohibition-era cocktail with a delightful balance of sweet, tart, and botanical flavors. Made with gin, lemon juice, and honey, it's refreshingly simple.
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  • ½ ounce honey syrup, see step 1
  • 1 ounce lemon juice, about ½ medium lemon
  • 2 ounces gin
  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  • 1 cocktail shaker


To make the honey syrup:

  • Combine equal parts honey and water in a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or over the stovetop until the honey is completely dissolved in the water.
  • Remove a length of zest from a lemon for your lemon twist. Wrap it around a straw or chopstick and freeze for 5 minutes.

To Make the Cocktail

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour the honey syrup, lemon juice and gin over the ice. Replace the lid tightly and shake vigorously until the mixture is icy cold, about 30 seconds.
Pour the drink into a coupe or martini glass.
  • Add the lemon twist to the drink and serve immediately.
Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 39mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg