The Bee's Knees cocktail post header, a bee in a flower

The Bee’s Knees: A Smoky, Spicy Spin on a Prohibition Classic

The Bee’s Knees is a classic cocktail that emerged during Prohibition. This simple gin, lemon, and honey drink was devised to mask the harsh taste of the subpar spirits available at the time. The name, a popular slang term during the 1920s, means the “best” or “most excellent” – a fitting moniker for a cocktail that’s stood the test of time. Today, we’re not just serving up the classic Bee’s Knees, but a spicy, smoky twist on this ever-delightful cocktail.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

The original Bee’s Knees recipe is simple: a healthy dose of gin, fresh lemon juice, and a spoonful of honey. The ingredients combine for a balance of botanical, citrus, and sweet notes that dance on the palate. Our new take keeps the core but adds an extra dimension to the flavor profile. Enter: Mike’s Hot Honey.

The Bee’s Knees: Now with Mike’s Hot Honey

Honey’s sweet smoothness is a critical element of the Bee’s Knees, offering a counterpoint to the gin’s botanicals and lemon’s tartness. By replacing traditional honey with Mike’s Hot Honey, we infuse the cocktail with a touch of spicy heat that lingers after each sip. This spicy honey is a blend of honey, vinegar, and chili peppers – a flavorful trifecta that imparts a tantalizing kick to our cocktail.

Making a honey syrup is simple: combine equal parts hot honey and water, heat gently until it forms a syrup, and let cool. This syrup ensures the honey will integrate beautifully into the cocktail.

Smoky Notes: A Glass Full of Flavor

Our second twist takes this cocktail to a whole new level, adding a hint of smokiness. This is achieved by capturing smoke in a glass lined with simple syrup. This innovative technique not only adds a fascinating layer to our Bee’s Knees, but it also creates a visually arresting presentation sure to impress.

To capture the smoke, simply coat the inside of the glass with simple syrup. Then, using a smoking gun or similar tool, fill the glass with smoke and cover it to let the smoke infuse. When the cocktail is ready, uncover, pour in the smoky, spicy Bee’s Knees, and savor the dramatic unveiling.

The result? A sophisticated, complex Bee’s Knees that’s bursting with botanical, citrus, sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors. It’s a cocktail experience that would make any speakeasy proud. Enjoy this spicy, smoky twist on the classic Bee’s Knees and toast to the innovative spirit of Prohibition-era mixology!

As always, feel free to share your thoughts, variations, or favorite classic cocktails in the comments. Cheers!

The Bee's Knees with Mike's Hot Honey

Bee’s Knees

Discover a smoky, spicy twist on the classic Bee's Knees cocktail, featuring Mike's Hot Honey and smoke infusion. Mixology meets Prohibition charm.
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Drink
Calories 204 kcal


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz Mike's Hot Honey As syrup (see instructions)


Make Honey Syrup

  • Add equal parts boiling water and Mike’s hot honey to a mixing glass
  • Stir until completely dissolved
  • Chill the syrup

Smoke a Coupe Glass

  • Rinse a glass with simple syrup
  • Using a smoking gun or other cocktail smoking tool capture smoke in the glass
  • Let sit for 5 minutes to infuse

Make the cocktail

  • Combine the Gin, Lemon Juice, and Hot Honey Syrup in a shaker with ice
  • Shake until chilled
  • Double strain into your prepared glass
Keyword gin drinks, prohibition era drinks, shaken drinks, smoked drink, straight up

2 thoughts on “The Bee’s Knees: A Smoky, Spicy Spin on a Prohibition Classic”

  1. 5 stars
    That sounds like a much more effective way to achieve smokiness than the time I tried to burn an herb and put it out in the drink.

    1. It was a good effort. I’d probably take a kitchen torch to the rosemary until it’s fairly on fire then extinguish it by putting the glass on top of it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: