Let’s put a dainty, sophisticated spin on a classic Prohibition cocktail with this lavender bee’s knees! Made with a honey-lavender simple syrup, this unique gin cocktail shows off a bouquet of floral flavors with bright citrus notes that make it perfect for any spring or summer gathering.
When you need a cocktail for warm evenings on the patio, you can’t go wrong with a bee’s knees. The sweet honey paired with the crisp citrus and gin give this cocktail all the makings of a refreshing patio sipper.
But then we take that refreshing factor up a notch and add a fancy, modern touch with the lavender. With that elevated spin, I have no doubt your guests will be impressed after just one sip.
Bee’s Knees Cocktail History
A bee’s knees is a Prohibition-era cocktail made with gin, honey simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. According to legend, the bee’s knees used honey and lemon to mask that harsh bathtub gin smell and taste, making for a delicious drink despite the low quality of the alcohol.
Bee’s knees was popular slang at the time for designating something as the height of excellence. Considering that we’re talking about a time when bathtub gin was a thing, you can imagine why an actual tasty cocktail made people swoon.
Of course, we have access to plenty of high-quality gin these days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy this classic cocktail. Honey and lemon complement the herbal, floral notes of gin beautifully. This classic gin cocktail stands the test of time, especially with that delightful lavender addition.
To make our fancy lavender bee’s knees cocktail, here’s everything we need.
- Dried lavender
You might have noticed I specified dried lavender over fresh lavender. I have the hardest time finding fresh lavender. Unless you grow it, I suspect you have the same trouble.
Dried lavender still gives us a wonderful flavor, and while it’s not necessarily on every grocery shelf, I can easily find it at Whole Foods, Sprouts or Amazon. I usually pick up lavender on Amazon. Just make sure you get a culinary grade like this dried lavender.
How to Make Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup
With our ingredients ready, we can start on our honey-lavender simple syrup. This is as easy as combining honey, water and dried lavender in a small saucepan and bringing the mixture to a low boil. From here, we let the mixture steep to infuse plenty of lavender flavor and then strain and chill.
I recommend taking care of this step ahead of time if possible. A bee’s knees is served straight up, which means no ice in the glass, so I prefer to start with cold simple syrup. Besides, this makes for easier entertaining. The honey-lavender will last in the refrigerator for several weeks.
How to Make Lavender Bee’s Knees
Now that our honey-lavender simple syrup is chilled, we’re ready to start on the rest of our cocktail. We grab a cocktail shaker and add the simple syrup along with the gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a handful of ice. The cocktail shaker top goes back on, and we give it a good shake. About 30 seconds will do.
We strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass and add a lemon twist if we feel extra fancy. For chilling the glass, I like to pop it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. But if you didn’t plan that far ahead, no worries.
Another alternative is to fill the glass with water and ice as we make our cocktail. Right before serving, we dump the water and ice, and just like that, we have a chilled glass.
Chilling the glass is technically an optional step, but since we serve the drink straight up, I recommend it. Plus, a chilled glass makes for an even more refreshing drinking experience on a hot summer evening.
And now we’re ready to kick back and sip away. Delicious, huh?
How about we play up the unique spin on this bee’s knees and pair this cocktail with my honey-lavender ice cream? Besides the matching honey and lavender flavors, this ice cream also includes a peach compote that’s perfect with a gin cocktail. I just love peach paired with floral flavors, so between the lavender and gin, it's the perfect dessert for this summer sipper.
With that in mind, my grilled peach pizza with prosciutto and pesto is another delicious option if you’re in the mood for a savory option. Whether you go with a sweet or savory pairing, you won’t be disappointed. Or, hey, really treat yourself and make both!
For a modern spin on a classic cocktail, I hope you try this lavender bee's knees. Please let me know how you enjoyed this recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Love Fancy Gin Cocktails?
Lavender Bee's Knees
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
For Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons culinary-grade dried lavender
For Lavender Bee's Knees
- 2 ounces London dry gin
- 1 ounce honey-lavender simple syrup
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice about ½ lemon
- Lemon twist for garnish, optional
For Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup
- Add water, honey and dried lavender to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the honey. Turn off heat once it boils and the honey dissolves.
- Allow to steep for 30 minutes, strain and then chill. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several weeks.
For Lavender Bee's Knees
- Add gin, honey-lavender simple syrup, lemon juice and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Put on the top and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist if desired. Enjoy!
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.