Since Hanukkah is the “Bees Knees” of holidays (“dude, eight nights of presents, not just one”), we figured it’s time for a celebratory cocktail. And the Bees Knees not only tastes good, you can make a kosher version of the cocktail….really. In all seriousness, we do have some Jewish heritage in the family and we host an annual Hanukkah dinner with homemade latkes, jelly donuts and now, this cocktail. And the Bees Knees does fit the Hanukkah theme.
At first, we looked for Hanukkah cocktail themes and it was a challenge. It is a festival of lights (not that helpful, flaming tiki drinks?) and oil is a main theme (there are a few cocktails with oil, but we aren’t going there), but happily the promised land is “the land of milk and honey” so we found a theme to build from. And as it turns out, raw honey is kosher, and we have plenty of raw Putney Farm honey. Even better, you can get kosher gin from the No. 209, a San Francisco based distillery (we used Bluecoat gin in this post, but will have the No. 209 at Hanukkah dinner). And it looks like fresh lemons are kosher, and we have plenty of Meyer lemons. Hmmm…
Well, guess what? You just read the recipe for a Bees Knees cocktail. The Bees Knees combines dry gin, lemon juice and honey syrup (1 to 1 very hot water and honey) and is served up or on the rocks. Created in the prohibition era, the Bees Knees is easy to make and very tasty. And if you prefer rum, a light rum version makes a Honeysuckle, a dark rum version makes a Honey Bee. Add some champagne to the Honeysuckle and you get an Airmail. If you use rye or bourbon you get a Daisy Black. So you do get four or five drinks out of the deal (it’s not eight, but five cocktails from one basic recipe isn’t too shabby).
While almost all cocktail writers have positive feelings about the Bees Knees, many describe it as “inoffensive”. But we will take some issue with that. If you use basic store-bought clover or orange blossom honey, the flavors are pretty light. But if you use raw “forest” or wildflower honey in the Bees Knees you get much deeper herbal and bitter notes. Putney Farm honey is a forest honey made mostly from wildflowers and herb blossoms, it has some herbal and minty notes with a slightly bitter and piney finish. Good stuff, and perfect with a dry earthy gin. Along with the sweet acidity of the Meyer lemons, the herbal notes of gin and forest honey make for a very substantial cocktail with layers of flavor. So we suggest you get some raw honey from a farmers market and then try the Bees Knees, it won’t be simply “inoffensive”, it will be a special cocktail and a fitting celebration of Hanukkah.
The Bees Knees:
- 2 oz. dry gin (No.209 kosher, if you like)
- 1/2 oz. honey syrup* (a bit more if using Eureka lemons, rather than sweeter Meyers)
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Lemon wheel, for garnish
- Combine the gin, honey syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. Garnish with the lemon wheel. Serve.
* To make honey syrup combine equal parts honey and very hot water in a sealable container. Shake until combines. Stores in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
- Make your own honey syrup (mnn.com)
- Eight Nights of Hanukkah Cocktails (thisamericanbite.com)
- Weekly Cocktail #32: The Bullseye (putneyfarm.com)
Hey!I really like your style, I just wanted to let you know my blog shop right now is changed to like my styles 🙂 Enjoy!xoxo Heidie
Thanks! Will check it out!
Reblogged this on Dawn Hartshorn muses and commented:
This sounds delicious! We are out of gin but could very easily make a Honeysuckle! 🙂 (Love that you can get 5 drinks out of one!)
Hope you enjoy it, it is a fun drink (and the rum versions are very good).
I love Bees Knees. For some reason I never make it at home, but often order it when we are out. One of my favorite restaurants makes a variation with thyme-infused honey syrup and fresh thyme sprigs and it is lovely. I wish I could taste it with Putney Farm honey!!
Thanks. If you infuse the money with thyme and a bit of lavender and a tiny bit of mint it would be close to our honey (at lest this year’s batch). But raw, local honey does make for a much better drink…
if you add tequila does it become a margarita ..sortof? ..loll 🙂
great post. will share it with my Jewish friends. 🙂
Thanks! I bet tequila, lime and honey would be fine…and still kosher…sorta…;-)
Next time I’m out I will order this one .. love the name .. and I didn’t know there is kosher gin too. Learn something new every day!
Thanks for acknowledging the ‘other’ religion! When I lived in Manhattan, this was never a problem, but here in NorCal, there is always a bit of confusion. One year I went to Safeway on Passover for a box of matzoh…many dazed and confused looks, announcements made over the P.A., questions asked, until finally they handed me some Carr’s Wafers.
My husband and I (neither blessed with the smallest noses on the planet) have been wished a Merry Christmas about a dozen times today…so thanks for this Chhhappy Chanukah treat!
Will try one pre-latkes tonight! Hendricks, o’course. 😉
Yup- as a native of NYC we had a lot of Hanukkah along with xmas…out here, it is hit or miss….everyone enjoys the dinner…hope u enjoy the drink..
I haven’t made honey syrup, but I wonder if you think manuka honey would make a nice variant. I’m visiting nz soon and might get some
I hadn’t heard of Manuka homey and just looked it up- it would be worth a try. It may be too stromg with some gins…but those are fun experiments…
Looking forward to a Bees Knees tonight – happy Chanukah all around!
I tried a Bees Knees last night and it was delish! I used my orange blossom honey (forgot to make it into syrup…just swished it around until it melted), regular ole’ lemon & Hendricks. My latkes were terrible (I can not be trusted with the latke making) but my Bees Knees was a hit!
Nice! The hendricks would go well with the orange blossom honey…and FWIW latkes are tough…we keep trying but successes are hard to find…
Sounds delicious! I’ll definitely be giving this one a whirl sometime soon.
Hope you enjoy it!
I must give it a try
Thanks for the visit! Hope you enjoy it!
Oh, if only my family were cocktail drinkers, we might make this number on the 8th night.
Thanks! (there is always time to start…;-)
Yum. Yum yum yum. Yum. Thank you!
Thanks for the visit!
Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.
This looks delicious! I’m filing this away as a drink to try.
Thanks! It is a tasty cocktail…and the base for a buch of other great drinks…worth a try!
Love the idea of honey syrup in a cocktail – sounds so good! Really like the glasses too 🙂
Thanks! The honey syrup is great in a lot of classic cocktails, but also used in many Tiki drinks. Worth making (and it’s easy).
That looks great! I’ve been a fan of honey cocktails for a long time; and this is an amazing one! For additional variety: you could look in to using the honey from specific flowers. I’m using a blueberry flower honey for my teas right now, and the added flavor is amazing!
We will be doing exactly as you suggest…part of the fun with honey cocktails…and the flavors are very, very different…
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I’m not Jewish, but I think I’m going to have to make that cocktail! Looks so delicious!
It’s just as good as a Christmas drink!
This sounds like a wonderful cocktail. I’ll be sure to try it (and it’s alternatives) soon!
Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!
I have never had raw honey or dry gin, so I am intrigued! Your description makes it sound delicious and I love the fact that you are able to get five drinks out of one basic recipe.
Thanks. “Dry” gin is the standard gin like Tanqueray or Bombay (sometimes you see it as “London Dry Gin”.
Raw honey is worth looking for, it has more flavor and more depth…
Thanks for the info! I will definitely be checking the raw honey out at the winter farmer’s market.
Thanks! And thanks for the visit!
I do cocktails on my blog all the time and this one looks YUMMY!
Thanks! (It’s a good drink) and we will check out your blog…never enough cocktails!
This looks delicious!
Great cocktail, I bought new cocktail glasses so making this shall be my excuse to use them! x
A perfect excuse! (one we use sometimes)
Looks mighty inviting, I just gotta give it a try.
Thanks! We hope you like it!
Shouldn’t the drink be blue and white and in the Hanukkah colors?
I could add some blue curacao and make that happen!
Too funny! http://www.segmation.com
I’m always looking for signature cocktails and this sounds great. Personally, my style is the one with whiskey. I also agree, fresh ingredients always make for a better taste!
Thanks! The whiskey version is very good, even better if you add a touch of spice…
We are overloaded from Meyer lemons from our tree so we will give this one a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Our tree is heavy this year as well…a good problem to have.
Hope you enjoy the drink!
This is awesome, thanks for sharing. I’m gonna have to try this cocktail, and yeah, the milk-and-honey theme would pair this cocktail well with the awesome dairy and cheese offerings that Israel is famous for.
Thanks! We figured honey was better than oil in the drink…but there are olive oil cocktails (believe it or not)…
this is freaking epic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrZ8GVTA1Xo
Going to try this out ASAP!
Cool- hope you like it!
Sounds delicious! I’ll definitely shake up the drink sometime soon 🙂
Thanks- hope you enjoy it!
I love this recipe! I’ve never heard of a Bee’s Knees before, but anything using local raw honey and fresh lemon counts as health food this time of year, right? I’ve tried experimenting with cocktails made from ingredients foraged from the back yard. I post the more successful ones. I definitely plan to add some of our lavender to infuse the honey before making the syrup.
BTW, with a menu featuring gin, latkes and donuts, my husband just might drop by your house this week 🙂
Regards from the other Bay Bridge,
Thanks! You are onto something- there are versions of the Bees Knees with lavender infused honey. They are supposed to be great (we may also try it). Lavender, lemon and honey are a perfectt flavor combination. If you get the right gin it would rock…
After much experimentation in the name of science, I’ve discovered that my favorite is Hendrick’s, but I know that it has a garden-fresh taste that is not for everyone. I think the cucumber and rose would be lovely with the lavender, though. Alas…The price keeps that a ‘special occasion’ bottle. I was surprised to find New Amsterdam, which is really affordable, but also quite smooth. I may have to toast you later this evening, since I just happen to have raw honey, lemons, and lavender on hand. The planets must be aligned today.
Hope you enjoyed it! We like the Hendricks in a lot of drinks, the cucumber and rose petal (and less juniper) is a welcome change…Nolet’s is similar, but very pricey.
New Amsterdam also good- Brokers also very tasty and $20…
Reblogged this on TEES AND MORE.
Reblogged this on romulojennifer.
Reblogged this on flyingmybroomstick and commented:
The Bonefish drink that you love so much
if I was only 21
Gin, honey and lemon aren’t going anywhere…
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Having just begun my love affair with mixology there’s a lot I’ve yet to learn… and having not considered using honey to flavour drinks (other than tea when I have a cold!) this has got me quite excited! I shall be trying this in the next few days for sure! Thanks!
Hope you enjoy it. Honey syrup is very easy to make and is great in a bunch of drinks…a good thing to play with!
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Mmm, delicious. Will share this!
Hope you enjoy it (I know you can find great honey).
Oooh! I love the Bees Knees cocktail!! It’s one of my favorites whenever I visit my favorite bar in San Francisco…
It is a good drink. What s your favorite Bar in SF?
I’ve got a few favorites in SF.
1. The Alchemist Bar & Lounge
3. 15 Romolo
4. Burritt Room
5. Honor Kitchen & Cocktails (This one’s a little bit north of SF)
Thanks- we need to try a few of these…you are wayyy ahead of us!
Reblogged this on weloveourclass.
This look delicious!
Thanks! And thanks for the visit!
It was. thx!
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Great post! This drink looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being on Freshly Pressed!
Everyone feel free to check out my blog! All follows, likes, comments, and views are all appreciated! 🙂
Thanks for the kind words and the visit! Much appreciated! Will check out your blog…
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Reblogged this on hometime and commented:
Mmmmmm – I can’t wait to try out this drink when we’re camping –
Awesome. will try it.. 🙂
Hope u enjoy it!
Reblogged this on HOBBIT HOUSE.
Reblogged this on drinkandbrew and commented:
Simple yet effective cocktail! 🙂
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Have you guys tried a stronger honey syrup? Isn’t the 1:1 too watery?
1 to 1 seems to work (some honey has more flavor than others), but you could go for a richer blend…
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