"The Best (And Sort Of Anti-Nazi)" Drink -- The Bee's Knees
The phrase "bee's knees" was Prohibition era slang for "the best." So how is this simple cocktail anti-Nazi? Frank Meier, the creator of the modern Bee's Knees, was the head bartender at what is now Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Hotel in Paris. He included the drink in his 1936 book "The Artistry of Mixing Drinks." During World War II Meier was a French Resistance operative, undermining the efforts of the high ranking Nazis who patronized his bar. In this respect Meier was much like Felix Kir, who created the eponymous Kir. Gives new meaning to the phrase "liquid courage," doesn't it?
2 ounces gin (I used the Botanist)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
.75 ounces honey syrup (see below)
Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the confidence of being the best at something, and strain into a chilled glass (preferably coupe). Lemon peel garnish optional.
Making honey syrup is so easy even I can do it (see A Thief In The Night). You may want to adjust the amount of syrup depending on the type of honey. When I made the Bee's Knees I happened to use buckwheat honey syrup, which has a richer taste than regular honey (it's also why the drink in the photo is darker than a typical Bee's Knees).
It's not clear who originally created the Bee's Knees, which in a way is similar to a gin based version of a Whiskey Sour. San Francisco bartender Bill Boothby referred to it in his 1934 book "World Drinks and How to Make Them." However, his version also contained orange juice. I prefer Meier's take on the Bee's Knees. It doesn't overpower the cocktail with citric acidity. More importantly -- it's tasty and refreshing.
You want to be the best? You want to be anti-Nazi? Then have a Bee's Knees.
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