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Lavender Bee’s Knees Cocktail and Lavender Honey

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. 

 

Purple tea cup with honey bee's knees.

 

The lavender honey is perfect to keep in the refrigerator all summer long, so you can make this lavender gin cocktail, but also to sprinkle 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 20’s, 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.  

 

Ingredients to make bee's knees.

 

Prohibition era cocktails

 

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 are 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. 

 

Coupé glass in backlighting, lavender garnish.

 

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!

 

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, 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 in the prohibition. Lime juice, club soda and gin. Easy yet delicious!

 

Three bee's knees seen from above, dried lavender as garnish and in a vase.

 

Other non-gin cocktails:

  • Mary Rickford – America’s sweetheart in the 1920s, a silent actress. Rum was the hottest commodity during the prohibtion, 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 to my blog. I am working on a few new ones as well, but in the meanwhile, you can enjoy these cocktails from other bloggers:

 

 

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.

 

Purple tea cup with yellow cocktail, lavender garnish.

 

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 tbsp 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.

 

Steps to make lavender honey syrup.

 

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!

 

Coupé glass surrounded by dried lavender and purple tea cups.

 

Did you like this recipe? Here are more floral recipes I think you will like:

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year. 

 

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Coupé glass with yellow cocktail, garnished with dried lavender.

 

Purple tea cup with honey bee's knees.

Lavender Bee's Knees Cocktail and Lavender Honey

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

A floral twist on a Prohibition era cocktail, this lavender bee's knees is the perfect combination of gin, lemon, honey and lavender.

Ingredients

Lavender Honey Syrup

  • 3/4 cup honey (255g)
  • 1/4 cup water (4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender buds (or 3 tbsp fresh)

Lavender Bee's Knees

  • 2 oz gin (4 tbsp)
  • 1 oz lemon juice (2 tbsp)
  • 1 oz lavender honey (2 tbsp)

Instructions

  1. Lavender Honey Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir on low until honey dissolves. Take it off the heat and let infuse for at least a couple of hours, but I prefer 30 hours for the perfect lavender honey. Stir occasionally, as the lavender floats on top.
  2. Once you are happy with the taste, strain into clean glass jar with a tight lid. Store in the refrigerator, lasts at least 1 month but usually longer.
  3. Lavender Bee's Knees: In a shaker with ice, shake all the ingredients for 15 seconds to chill. Strain into glass.

Notes

A classic bee's knees is just regular honey and not lavender infused. My combination is more 1 part gin and 1 part lemon-honey, although some recipes have 2 parts gin. Taste and see what you prefer!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 23.9gProtein: 0.3g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, estimate for informational purposes only.

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