‘Bee’s knees’ was a phrase first uttered in 1922. And it wasn’t coined alone. Used to describe something excellent, stylish or inimitably cool, it was one of many similar slang sayings to emerge around the time of Prohibition. The ‘cat’s pyjamas’ was another. The ‘fox’s socks’, a third. Even the obscure, long-forgotten ‘monkey’s eyebrows’.
And it’s interesting we mention monkeys. Because the ‘Bee’s Knees’, as well as being a saying, is also one of the most enduring, sweet-tart cocktails of the 1920s — and one we can confirm is best mixed with Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin.
“The ‘Bee’s Knees’ is also one of the most enduring, sweet-tart cocktails of the 1920s…”
Sharp and sugary, the ‘Bee’s Knees’ is a bright yellow blend of fine gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice and runny golden honey. First whipped up by Frank Meier, an Austrian-born bartender at the Ritz in Paris, it has since joined the International Bartenders Association list of coveted ‘Official Cocktails’.
And this sweet spin on the classic uses Monkey 47 gin to great effect. Because, while most recipes recommend using a sweet honey gin to temper the sharp lemon, Monkey 47 takes things one step further. As well as counting syrupy honeysuckle and sweet berries amongst its botanicals, this German gin also boasts a quartet of citrusy ingredients — lemon, lemongrass, lemon verbena and lemon balm. As a result, the cocktail is the best of both balanced worlds. Or, you could say, the bee’s knees.
The Monkey 47 ‘Bee’s Knees’
- 50ml Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
- 30ml Runny Honey
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- Lemon Zest
- Begin by chilling a coupette glass
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
- Add the Monkey 47, honey and lemon juice
- Shake for 40 seconds
- Taste, and strain into your coupette glass
- Garnish with a skewered ribbon of lemon zest
Want more cocktails? Here’s how to make Monkey 47’s ‘Monkey Martini’
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.
Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?
Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.