Video by Katherine Guanche

Due to technical difficulties (sometimes referred to as vacation), I failed to post the Friday Cocktail on Friday! Better late than never I hope.

The Bee’s Knees is a prohibition era cocktail, by some accounts created as a way to mask the flavor of bathtub gin (which has always sounded kind of gross to me—perfect place to keep your gin and take care of that ring around the tub!)

But the cocktail itself is splendid, a classic sour, dormant since its heyday until contemporary mixologists picked it back up. I keep it to a golden sour ratio of 2 parts hooch, 1 part sour, 1 part sweet. Here the sour is lemon juice and the sweet is honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, heated to blend then cooled). As always, I recommend starting at a basic ratio, tasting and adjusting as necessary before chilling and pouring.

When Sam Hood Adrain, my sound technician and video director, heard there was a new distillery in our town of Providence, RI, where we’ve been sheltering since March 13th, the first distillery in the city since prohibition, he contacted The Industrious Spirits Company to learn more. The distillery uses only regional, non-GMO, organic grains to make vodka and gin (with the more time consuming whiskeys to come). They were scheduled to open to the public in April, alas. But you can still sample their spirits, available at the distillery or at various shops in Rhode Island. They happily provided a bottle to sample (thank you!).

It’s intensely herbaceous so I wouldn’t use this for a martini, but it works great in more complex cocktails such as a sour. They suggested a Bee’s Knees, and they were right! Welcome to Providence, ISco!

My reading today is from the eminent poet and teacher (at Washington U in St. Louis), whom I met at Bread Loaf. I was intrigued to find that, in looking for one of his poems that included bees, that an article on Medium actually addresses the poet’s use of horses and bees. In this poem, Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm (lovely title, that), notice how bees though not actually present, are evoked; I love how bees are used to signal rot. (An aubade is a poem appropriate to dawn or early morning, but I’m using it for the evening cocktail any way. I love the evocative, specific, sensual first stanza countering the mysterious abstract second stanza. Carl’s latest book is, Pale Colors In a Tall Field: Poems. Highly recommend. Support our poets!

Happy Friday everyone (even though I’m typing this on Sunday!)!

The Bee’s Knees

A gin sour, sweetened with honey
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)
  • 1 lemon twist


  • Combine the fluids. Taste and adjust to your liking. Add ice and chill. Strain into a chilled coup or over ice and garnish with a twist.
Keyword Gin, honey, Lemon, sour