Honey Bee Cocktail

For World Bee Day

Your cocktail calendar entry for: May
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Today we’re mixing up the Honey Bee cocktail in honor of World Bee Day.  As you would expect, it’s a raucous and buzzing day, a kaleidoscope of frenetic energy thick with the hum of industrious wings and the sweet scent of nectar.  It’s a time to toast the little buzzards for all the work they do.  That makes the Honey Bee cocktail Drink of the Day.  It’s a classic cocktail that’s a variation on the Bee’s Knees.  We’ll cover the origin and Honey Bee recipe after paying homage to our little winged friends.

While bees get top billing the day is also open to other pollinators.  Bats, hummingbirds, butterflies….you name it.  Here at The Drunkard’s Almanac we’re particularly fond of bats as they are instrumental in pollinating agaves.  Agaves, of course, are the foundation of tequila and mezcal, and we called out to the bats when we mixed the Rosita cocktail.

World Bee Day

World Bee Day falls on the birthday of Anton Janša, an influential maverick in the twisted realm of beekeeping.  He emerged from the rugged terrain of Slovenia like a bee from its hive. In the 18th century, when the world was ignorant to the secrets of bees, Janša took it upon himself to pioneer the modern techniques that would change the game.

The bees are a wild bunch. A battalion of buzzing anarchists hell-bent on pollinating the world into a psychedelic frenzy.  These tiny rebels of the hive navigate the floral landscape with an audacious swagger, their wings slicing through the air like blades of chaos. They’re the renegades of the insect kingdom, armed with stingers and a burning desire to disrupt the status quo.

You see, the bees don’t give a damn about any of us. They’re just in it for the nectar, the sweet elixir of life that fuels their relentless pursuit of pleasure. They dance from flower to flower in a frenzy of intoxicated delight. They’re the ultimate outlaws, living life on the edge, sucking the nectar of existence with an insatiable hunger.

But it’s not just about their honey-sweet rewards.  These bees are the kings and queens of cross pollination, fertilizing the fields with gusto.  They’re the unsolicited drug dealers of our food supply, the pollinators who keep the whole show running.  In their relentless pursuit of nectar they transfer pollen from flower to flower with reckless abandon.  They’re the unsung heroes of our plates.  Without their acts of pollination our agricultural landscape would crumble.  We’d just be drinking water and scraping lichens off rocks.

How to make the Honey Bee cocktail

The Honey Bee cocktail is a drink that falls neatly into the sours family, meaning it’s made of a spirit, citrus juice and a sweetener.  That covers classics like the Whiskey Sour, the Daiquiri, the Margarita and the Frisco Sour, to name a few.  It even applies to the Cosmopolitan.

Thus it’s no surprise that one of our favorite authors, David A. Embury, included the Honey Bee in a section entitled “Cocktails Based on the Gin Sour” in his epic work The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

As you’ll recall we mixed up the Bee’s Knees cocktail to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition.  In his recipe for the Bee’s Knees Mr. Embury explains that “The same drink, except for the use of white Cuban rum in the place of gin, is known as the Honeysuckle.  The same drink with Jamaica rum is the Honey Bee.”  He goes on to say that the Honeysuckle is sometimes also known as the Airmail.  Our version, however, is a tall drink and uses lime juice instead of lemon.  Note also that if you use bourbon it becomes a Gold Rush.  This is a prime example of the Mr. Potato Head school of bartending.

honey bee cocktail

Honey Bee Cocktail

The Honey Bee is a variation on the classic, Prohibition era drink the Bee's Knees. The only difference, in true Mr. Potato Head swap-the-parts fashion, is using Jamaican rum instead of gin as the base spirit. Nobody knows who invented it, but the Honey Bee was popular post-Prohibition, certainly in the 1940s when the recipe was published.
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  • 2 oz Jamaican rum
  • ½ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz honey syrup Or 1/4 oz honey and 1/4 oz warm water


  • If you're using honey syrup add it to shaker. Alternatively add 1/4 oz each of honey and warm water, then stir to dissolve honey.
  • Add Jamaican rum and lemon juice to shaker.
  • Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
  • Strain into pre-chilled coupe.
  • Drink.
  • Get your buzz on, it's World Bee Day.


Calories: 177kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.1mg
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