Bees’ Knees – Original Recipe & History

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Bees' Knees
Bees’ Knees

History Of The Bees’ Knees Cocktail.

The Bees’ Knees was invented by Frank Meier while working at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. The recipe was first published in his 1936 book “The Artistry of Mixing Drinks.” His original recipe is.

“In Shaker: The juice of one-quarter lemon, a teaspoon of honey, one-half glass of Gin; shake well and serve”

From my experience, half a lime or lemon is typically around a 1/2 oz (15mLs), so a quarter would be 1/4 oz (7.5 mLs). Also, a wine glass measured out to 2 oz (60 mLs), so half is 1 oz (30 mLs). The only change I made is I doubled the recipe to make the drink just a tad bit bigger since the original recipe is small.

What Does The Bees’ Knees Taste Like?

The sweet and sour flavors of the bees’ knees are spot on—just the right amount of honey and lemon. The honey adds a nice earthy floral sweetness to the bright sour lemon flavor. The gin mixes nicely, bringing a dry herbal quality to the drink that compliments while not competing with the lemon or honey. I tried making this once with vodka, and it was nowhere near as good as gin. I’ve also made rye and bourbon variations of this cocktail that are very good too.

Recipe Resources


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Bees’ Knees

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Course: DrinksCuisine: French






Total time



Learn how to make the Bees’ Knees.


  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 oz Honey Syrup

  • 2 oz Dry Gin


  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into a glass to remove ice shards.

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