Vintage Cellars

Get the buzz on the classic gin Bee’s Knees cocktail

Lemon and honey usually mean someone’s not feeling well. Blend it with Archie Rose gin though and you’re ready to spring into the new season.


Zesty lemon, smooth honey and citrus-inspired gin are shaken together in a vintage crowd pleaser known as the Bee’s Knees. It’s super-simple to create, so serving it up at your next party will mean you spend more time with your guests and fewer hours behind the bar. There’s also plenty of opportunity to mix it up to best suit your palate.

How to make a Bee’s Knees cocktail

Ingredients (serves 2)

20ml honey

10ml hot water

90ml Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin

40ml lemon juice

Ice cubes, to serve

Lemon wheel, to serve



1. Combine the honey and water in a cocktail shaker and stir until the honey dissolves. Add the gin, lemon juice and ice. Shake until well combined and chilled.

2. Strain into a chilled coupe serving glass. Garnish with lemon.

Straight from the Prohibition era to your next get-together

There are a few stories about the origin of the Bee’s Knees. Some say the head bartender at Paris’s Ritz Hotel replaced the sugar in a gin sour with honey syrup to come up with this richer-tasting creation. Others say it was the unsinkable Molly Brown, one of the survivors from the Titanic, who invented it. Most agree, however, that it became popular during Prohibition in the 1920s when folks were looking for a way to mask the often unpleasant taste of bathtub gin. This was also the time when people began using expressions like the cat’s pyjamas, the snake’s hips and, of course, the bee’s knees to describe something that was the best.

Making a Bee’s Knees cocktail the best it can be

Even a cocktail invented for bathtub gin should call for the good stuff – there are only three ingredients in this recipe so they need to be top quality. We’ve used Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin, a finalist in the Australian Gin category of our Best of White Spirits Awards. A uniquely Australian expression of a traditional dry gin, it features eight individually distilled botanicals, including sunrise lime, Geraldton wax flower and Dorrigo pepper leaf. The result is a modern classic with a backbone of juniper and flavours of stone fruit, garden herbs, pine and subtle eucalyptus. As well as fresh lemon juice, the recipe requires honey syrup – a combination of honey and water that is easier to work with. Vary the honey to add some subtle differences to your Bee’s Knees – try honey infused with lavender for a floral note, or experiment with seasonal varieties of honey like clover or blue gum.

Loving this? Try these, too

If you’re into the lemony goodness of a Bee’s Knees, why not try a lemon drop martini. This vodka martini, made with limoncello, is a sweeter option than James Bond’s favourite cocktail. Another excellent option is the lemon love cocktail – topped with elderflower tonic it’s a long, refreshing option perfect for spring sunsets.


Products featured are available from 06/09/23 to 10/10/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.