A floral twist on a Prohibition era cocktail, this lavender bee's knees is made with just 4 ingredients and is the perfect combination of tart, sweet and floral. The infused lavender honey is mush easier to make than you may assume, and it has tons of different uses.
The lavender honey is perfect to keep in the refrigerator all summer long, so you can make this lavender gin cocktail, but also sprinkle it on top of mango granola and sweetened condensed milk. All my honey and lemon drinks can work beautifully with lavender honey as well, such as this sore throat tea, the Penicillin cocktail, and a ginger whiskey sour.
Bee's Knees meaning
The phrase 'bee's knees' came before the cocktail. It actually has a rich history, but it hasn't always meant the same thing (like smallness and something that doesn't exist).
From the roaring '20s, the expression was included as a part of a nonsense language young people invented, as a word for something that is the best. Now it is generally a consensus that the expression means that something is of the highest quality and is excellent.
I can definitely agree with that. The funny thing is that the bee's knees is likely invented as a way to mask the flavor of really bad bathtub gin. This totally makes sense, as they had to be quite creative in making alcohol in the prohibition era. Perhaps the bee's knees drink was so good, it was literally 'the best' cocktail during this time.
It's certainly one of my favorites, even in these times where the choices are bountiful.
The prohibition era began in 1920 as a way to reduce crime and corruption (funny...), solve social problems (hmm), and reduce the tax burden from prisons and poorhouses. Well, I don't think the prohibition era went the way they wanted it to go, but at least there came some great and creative cocktails from it.
Even though they made drinks with industrial alcohol used for making ink and perfumes those days, the flavor profile of many cocktails is still vastly popular today. The bee's knees is definitely one of my favorite prohibition-era cocktails, but there are many more to choose from.
Gin based cocktails
Gin-based cocktails were very common because gin was cheap and easy to make, for example, the Bee's Knees and the French 75.
The French 75 is also one of my favorites, and my version will be up on the blog eventually. Champagne came during the Prohibition era, and this French 75 cocktail was a way to stretch a bottle of champagne and a bottle of gin a little further. This also has lemon and simple syrup. You could swap the simple syrup for this honey lavender for an amazing twist! Check out my 2 versions of this cocktail in my 99 Summer Drinks e-cookbook!
The Southside was bootlegger and gangster Al Capone's favorite drink. It's also got gin and simple syrup, but fresh mint and lime juice as well. I have not yet tried this cocktail, but I'm pretty sure I would love it too!
Gin Rickey is another gin-based cocktail. This was invented a little earlier, and probably with bourbon instead as that was more popular, but it transformed into a gin cocktail when they began making bathtub gin during the prohibition. Lime juice, club soda, and gin. Easy yet delicious!
Other non-gin cocktails:
- Mary Rickford - America's sweetheart in the 1920s, a silent actress. Rum was the hottest commodity during the prohibition, and they say Mary was likely on vacation in Havana, where the bartender made her this tropical drink with rum, pineapple, and grenadine.
- Sidecar - a sour drink with cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice, and a sugar rim.
- Old fashioned - one of the oldest cocktails that are still popular. It got many different varieties during the prohibition, which is why the recipe may have differences, depending on who you ask. But it's likely got whiskey, angostura bitters, and sugar cubes.
More cocktails with lavender
Ever since I made my first batch of lavender-infused honey, I was instantly hooked on lavender honey in cocktails. However, this is the first cocktail published on my blog. I am working on a few new ones as well, but in the meanwhile, you can enjoy these cocktails from other bloggers:
- Strawberry Lavender Daiquiri (you could swap the lavender simple syrup for lavender honey)
- Lavender Infused Gin (oh my, this gin would be so good in pretty much all lemony cocktails!)
- Limoncello Lavender Frosted Cocktail (this sounds so tasty)
- Blueberry Lavender Margarita (this uses store-bought lavender syrup, use this lavender honey instead!)
- Lavender Vodka Lemonade (such a great idea, I love vodka lemonade)
And in all recipes using honey, you could swap with this lavender honey instead for an extra floral twist! And recipes using a lot of lemon and simple syrup, in all likelihood could also benefit from a little lavender honey action.
I really love floral drinks, and if you do too I'd recommend the Lucky Leprechaun drink, elderflower cordial, grapefruit mimosa, and calendula grapefruit mulled cider.
How to make infused lavender honey syrup
You need 3 ingredients; honey, water and dried lavender. You can use fresh lavender too, but then you would need to use 3 tablespoon instead. When using fresh flowers, usually you have to triple the amount. Simply add the ingredients to a small saucepan and heat it up until the honey dissolves.
Take it off the heat and let it infuse for as long as you want, but at least a couple of hours. I found that 30 hours is my perfect spot. It's very lavendery and I think that tastes just like an extra honey-like honey. It is amazing. Every once in a while I stir it, because the lavender buds tend to float on top.
Once you are satisfied with the flavor, strain it into a clean glass jar with a tight lid. Store in the refrigerator. Fantastic to use in pretty much anything that could benefit from a little honey, like cocktails (obviously!), tea, coffee, yogurt, salad dressings and the list goes on.
How to make this simple lavender gin cocktail
When the lavender honey is done, this cocktail couldn't be much easier to make! Shake gin, lemon juice and lavender honey together in a shaker with ice. Strain into your favorite glasses (or cute tiny tea cups! My great grandma made these and I finally found a good use for them)
Enjoy this lavender bee's knees in the shade on your porch on a warm summer day, along with some warm strawberry scones! For dessert, why don't you try one of these 6 alcoholic popsicles? Easy, refreshing and boozy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more floral recipes I think you will like:
- White chocolate mousse with rose and pistachio
- Lemon lilac cupcakes (including lilac sugar and lilac syrup)
- Lemon elderflower sorbet
- Elderflower cordial
- Grapefruit elderflower mimosa
- Hibiscus iced tea
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