We have been busy the last few weeks wrapping up the end of summer by finding ways to use our fresh herbs from our garden before the cold nights of fall finish off our herbs. One of the herbs we have been really enjoying is our lavender, which finally has established itself enough to bloom, its purple flowers fragrantly floral in the late summer sun. We have enjoyed using lavender in some of our previous cocktails like the Brandy and Blackberry Lavender Shrub, where using lavender added a rich floral freshness to the recipe. We decided to use a lavender infused simple syrup to make a delicious summer sipping cocktail, the Lavender Bee’s Knees.
The Bee’s Knees is a delicious classic cocktail recipe that has been around since prohibition, where it got its name from the popular 1920’s phrase “It’s the bee’s knees,” meaning the best. The Bee’s Knees is a take off of the old standby, the Gin Sour cocktail, but uses honey to add a rich complex sweetness to the drink. Likely the change from the classic Sour recipe to add a big dose of honey syrup used in the original was to add an overwhelming sweetness to hide the questionable flavors of the bathtub gin that was common in the 1920’s.
When we started making the Lavender Bee’s Knees, we found the original seemed a little sweet, especially for a summer sipper. We also were running a little short for the amount of honey the original recipe called to make the honey simple syrup. Since we had a nice lavender infused simple syrup that we have been playing around with, we decided to sub in the lavender simple syrup for some of the honey syrup, taking this Lavender Bee’s Knees down a whole different road than the original by adding a rich floral note.
We used a nice light gin, Hendrick’s Gin, which has a nice hint of floral sweetness that worked really well with the lavender syrup. Fresh squeezed lemon juice brings a tart component that works really well with gin, making the Lavender Bee’s Knees a nice crisp cocktail good for sipping on a late summer evening. We still used a bit of honey to keep the rich sweetness and unique flavor that honey brings, but the majority of the sweetness comes from the lavender simple syrup. Crisp and tart with a floral sweetness, we found ourselves sipping this on our porch as the sun set on a couple of wonderful warm evenings the past few weeks. Cheers!
- 2 oz Gin
- 1 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 oz freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- Lavender Simple Syrup: 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4-5 sprigs lavender sprigs and/or flowers
- Add the gin and honey into a shaker and stir to dissolve the honey.
- Add in the remaining ingredients.
- Fill shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into a cocktail coupe.
- Garnish with a sprig of lavender.
- Lavender Simple Syrup: Bring sugar and water to a boil, take off heat and add lavender sprigs.
- Let sit for 15 minutes, strain out sprigs.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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