A kicky Prohibition gin cocktail.
The expression “the bee’s knees” came about in the 1920s and means the height of excellence or the cream of the crop. It was 1920s slang. No one is completely certain where the saying comes from, but one theory is that it’s derived from the use of the letters “B” and “E” in the idiom “the be-all and end-all,” which also denotes the very best of something.
Another thought is that perhaps it refers to a popular dancer of the day, Bee Jackson. Bee was a world champion Charleston dancer who danced all over the world. She didn’t invent the dance, but no one danced it better than Bee. She was quite a character. She once punched the king of Albania in the nose. There was no explanation as to why that happened (though the king was reputed to be a notorious womanizer), but I’m sure Bee had a very good reason. She died at the age of 25 of a ruptured appendix.
Back to the cocktail. The Bee’s Knees is a Prohibition drink. It was created to help mask the taste of the bathtub gin. The recipe was first seen in print in 1930. And after drinking one of these, you’ll be kicking up your heels just like Bee.
Here’s a tip for making this drink: Make your own honey syrup by heating one part water together with one part honey.
- 1 ½ oz. gin
- ½ oz. honey syrup
- ½ oz. lemon syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.