The Bee's Knees cocktail is a gin, lemon and honey classic that dates back to Prohibition Era – you know, that time from 1920-1933 when booze wasn’t legal but as a result all the best cocktails were invented? The name comes from the phrase “bee's knees,” which is prohibition-era slang for “the best.”
“The best,” to us, means indie. So, naturally, we had to come up with our own, indie-fied version, using small-batch products that are, without a doubt, one million times better than bathtub gin.
We started with Ransom Dry Gin, which is a blend of old-school and modern styles, harkening back to the gin first invented by the Dutch, called genever. Ransom’s take displays the malty, hoppy aromas of the style with a more intense 14-botanical infusion – including Oregon marionberry and local hops. It’s highly aromatic and nicely dry, which made it a natural choice for this cocktail.
To balance the gin, we went with Vya Sweet Vermouth. It’s a smooth blend of Tinta Roriz (a Portuguese Tempranillo) and Orange Muscat wines, infused with a secret combination of more than 17 herbs and spices. It has such beautiful flavor, with hints of orange and spice, and a perfect balance of sweet and bitter. Vermouth gets a bad rap, but we’re obsessed with it – especially here.
To sweeten the deal, what else but KAS Krupnikas Honey Liqueur? Legend has it that Benedictine monks created krupnikas in the Middle Ages, and though the Soviets shut down production of it for many years, the recipe lived on thanks to closely guarded family recipes passed through generations. It’s a liqueur made using grain spirit (usually vodka), spices and honey.
And, if you know us by now, you know how much we love Hella Bitter’s Aromatic Bitters. These are the only aromatic bitters we use to stock our bar. Bold words, but we don't think it gets much better than this complex, yet balanced mix of warm spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves, floral rose hips, savory caraway and the balanced bitterness of shredded wormwood and calamus roots.
To top it off, this cocktail couldn’t be easier to make. Combine everything, stir, serve in a cocktail glass and garnish. It’ll be the buzz of your next party.
2 ounces Ransom Dry Gin
1 ounce Vya Sweet Vermouth
1 ounce KAS Krupnikas Honey Liqueur
2 dashes Hella Bitter’s Aromatic Bitters
Lemon peel and star anise for garnish
1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine all ingredients and mix for 30 seconds.
2. Strain and serve in a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Garnish with lemon peel and star anise.