How to Make a French Lavender Bee’s Knees Cocktail recipe

Lavender will always remind me of trips to France. The fields of Provence overflow with this fragrant and vibrant purple flower. Cooking with lavender didn’t even cross my mind until we moved to Seattle and I had the lemon lavender coffee cake at Macrina Bakery in Queen Anne.

Ever since, I’ve been hooked.

So, when I started to play with cocktails a few years ago, I figured one of my favorite drinks, the Bee’s Knees cocktail, would be a perfect spot to play with lavender infusions in drinks.

Lavender Bees Knees Cocktail recipe

History of the Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Way back in 1921, Frank Meier, the head bartender at the Cafe Parisian in the Ritz in Paris, came up with a new cocktail he called the Bee’s Knees, a very popular term in the early 20th century (“It’s the bee’s knees” meant that something was of very good quality).

While I like to think one of my favorite cocktails was invented in Paris, there are contradictory stories about its origins. Some think that the Bee’s Knees Cocktail was actually invented in America during prohibition. The sweet honey and tart citrus covered up the taste of cheap bathtub gin, making it more palatable.

There are even tales of Molly Brown (the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” who survived the sinking of the Titanic) invented it, or at least brought it over to Paris, her second home when not in Denver living off her deceased husband’s gold mine fortune.

However it came to be, I’m so glad it did as I have a lot of fun playing with this simple cocktail recipe that has so much potential when it comes to adding other flavors.

Traditional Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice (fresh is best! You can go up to 1oz lemon juice if you really like a pop)
  • 1/2 oz honey simple syrup
  • Garnish with a lemon rind twist

Combine gin, lemon juice and honey simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Give it a good shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with your lemon twist. ENJOY!

Simple Honey Syrup Recipe

  • Add 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook until the honey and water have combined completely.
  • Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  • You can store your syrup for up to a week in the refrigerator

What is the Best Gin for Cocktails?

In recent years, I’ve become obsessed with gin, finding the nuances and flavors coming out of local distilleries across the country and around the world.

Some gins are meant to be sipped and savored on their own (many Japanese gins are almost like a sipping whisky), while others are good with just a little tonic water and some ice. MAYBE a lime or cucumber, but a truly incredible gin needs no added flavors.

When it comes to gin in cocktails, I like to go with a basic gin like Hendricks. You don’t want to go too cheap, or it will reflect in your cocktail. Using a pricey gin known for its own distinct flavor will be wasted with mixers though. Finding a happy middle gin is key.

Lavender Bees Knees Cocktail recipe

Bee’s Knees with a Twist

French Lavender Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

Cocktail Ingredients & Directions

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounces lavender honey syrup
  • Garnish: lemon twist and dried lavender
  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist and lavender.

How to make Lavender honey syrup

  • Add 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook until honey and water combine.
  • Add 1 tsp dried lavender.
  • Stir until blended.
  • Take off heat and allow to cool.
  • Strain into a jar and seal tightly with a lid.

Honey syrup will last up to a week.

Love Lavender? Try our Lemon Lavender Scone Recipe!

Lavender Bees Knees Cocktail recipe

Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe with Vodka

  • 2 ounces Vodka or Honey Vodka
  • 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounces honey syrup (or lavender honey simple syrup)
  • lemon zest and dried lavender sprig

How to make Lavender simple syrup

  • Add 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook until sugar dissolves.
  • Add 1 tsp dried lavender.
  • Stir until blended.
  • Take off heat and allow to cool.
  • Strain into a jar and seal tightly with a lid.

Simple syrup will last for about a week.

More Lavender flavors can be found in our Earl Grey Scone Recipe!

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