The Bee’s Knees & The Business.

None of your bee’s knees.


The Bee’s Knees & The Business.

Sometimes cocktails can seem like hard work. Many modern recipes are somewhat complex and often their ingredients can be hard to source. This is probably a bit inevitable as most of the obvious combinations have been codified long ago. We need to go a little off piste to express our creativity these days and it can be all too easy to take it too far. Guilty as charged m’lord. We need to remind ourselves from time to time that excellent cocktails don’t need to be complicated. A look at Sasha Petraske’s Regarding Cocktails reminds us that our current cocktail renaissance was actually founded on some pretty straightforward recipes. You won’t find any particularly esoteric ingredients beyond a few simple home-made syrups in Sasha’s repertoire but you will find some beautifully straightforward classics and derivatives thereof. Which brings us to these two drinks. Gin is a spirit that doesn’t like to be messed about with too much and these recipes give it the respect it deserves. The Bee’s Knees is a very old drink from around the time of prohibition and is simply a gin sour sweetened with honey instead of sugar. The peculiar name is twenties hipster slang for “the shit”. Luckily The Bee’s Knees or the similar expression The Cats Pajamas make better cocktail names. And if you’re thinking, like I was, Oooh I’m gonna invent a cocktail and call it The Cat’s Pajamas, we’re too late. For the brave “The Shit” still appears to still be available as a cocktail name. The Bee’s Knees was a favourite of Sasha’s but he also morphed it into The Business by switching the lemon juice for lime. While the original was good it always reminded me a little of lemon and honey throat lozenges which The Business doesn’t. Another way of viewing The Business would be that it’s simply a honey sweetened Gimlet. In any case, both the Bee’s Knees and The Business are blindingly awesome drinks that are ludicrously simple to make. So, what are you waiting for? Oh, right the recipes. OK – here you go – get to it!

The Bee’s Knees.

2oz / 60ml gin of choice.

1oz / 30ml fresh lemon juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml rich honey syrup (3 parts honey to 1 part hot water).

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail coupé.

Toast Apis mellifera.

The Business.

2oz / 60ml gin of choice (I particularly like Bombay Sapphire in this one).

1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.

0.75oz / 22.5ml rich honey syrup (3 parts honey to 1 part hot water).

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail coupé.


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