It was sort of a no-brainer when it came to which ingredient had to be featured in my very first blog post: Gin! Given its current popularity there is always a new kind to try, a new combination to taste. This versatility I just love! So there is definitely more to come. This post, however, is about a specific gin cocktail. An old classic which I fell in love with immediately. In fact, it seems to be a rather forgotten classic since whenever I mention it to someone, they do not recognize it at all.
It all started about a year ago while scanning the shelves for a new discovery in a store well known for its broad range of delicacies. I was contemplating Gin Mare, this very popular gin, which I just find difficult to like. It is my strong believe that disliking a taste is mainly just a challenge to find the right complementing ingredient to make the taste work its magic. Gin Mare. Pictures of rosemary and thyme came to mind… And seagulls. No. This was not going to work… Approaching the booze shelves something appeared in my peripheral vision. It hit me right away: Honey! Gin and Honey! I was intrigued. After a few minutes of research online I stumbled over a recipe I simply had to try: “The Bee’s Knees”. Gin, honey and lemon juice. This would be a drink with a beautiful taste!! While floating around in gin heaven I found out that this particular cocktail was first documented in the 1920ies – during and after the Prohibition – in the Midwest of the USA. While back then honey was added mainly to cover the questionable taste of low quality gin (so called “bathtub gin”), it proved itself to be a worthy dance partner. That same night I tasted my very first Bee’s Knees and I walked on air!
So here comes the basic recipe for the Bee’s Knees:
- 6cl gin
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 2cl of fresh lemon juice
Firstly, stir the honey in a little bit of water until it has dissolved. Then add the gin and the lemon juice. Shake or stir well. I myself have this drink with plenty of ice instead of just enjoying it in a chilled glass, but that is simply attributed to my quirk of having to drink everything as cold as possible. Also, I myself use more lemon juice as I just love for it to have a little extra zest.
Obviously, there is an almost infinite range of possibilities when it comes to combining gin with honey (I have yet to find the one that is a perfect match for Gin Mare) but I have found that – if you do not feel like experimenting too much – simply finding a honey you like is crucial to add to your classic gin.
One of my favorite combinations are Elephant Gin and lavender honey.
Now, wherever I looked a different cocktails glass was suggested for this drink. I chose what I thought to be the best fit: The martini glass. A classic for a classic. The glass featured in the picture is classic martini glass I found at Butler’s.
This cocktail is perfect for the first evening outside in spring! What could possibly be better to bring out the wonderful smell of the spring blossom.
By the way: The phrase “the bee’s knees” back in the 1920ies was slang for “the best”! And what a contender it is!
Drink it in! Cheers!
Tip I: About the Honey
If you want to make a night out of it and compare various honeys I may have found just the right offer: a try-out-collection of different kinds of premium Italian honey I found at Globus in Zurich and is available in two sizes (10 and 5). (see the selection of 10 below)
Tip II: Honey Syrup:
Once you have found your favorite combo (or just your favorite honey) I recommend you prepare honey-syrup to save yourself precious time in the future. For this purpose, add half-half honey and water, carefully heat, stir, and fill into a sealable bottle. Keep the syrup in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.