In celebration of their new organic Tea House Collection, we partnered with Pure Leaf Iced Tea to mix up a classic gin cocktail inspired by their Black Tea with a hint of Sicilian Lemon and Honeysuckle.
The simplest cocktails are often the best—no fussing, no nonsense. Just good things mingling together in glass, a staple spirit plus a few other ingredients easily pulled from the pantry.
These are the kinds of cocktails that usually bear stories because they've been hanging around long enough in bars to have them. Funny enough, this sentiment isn't true for the Prohibition-era classic Bee's Knees—little is known of its origin, despite how ubiquitous it has been over the decades.
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The Bee's Knees, both the saying and the drink, supposedly popped up during cocktails' first heyday in the U.S.—the 1930s—when gin and whiskey ruled. (Although I have seen references to using rum as the base spirit, too.) The drink, as well as its fellow friends from Prohibition like the French 75 and Champagne cocktail, were all developed to disguise their base spirit, then pretty unpalatable. Today's gins are a far cry from their so-called bathtub-made ancestors, so letting the spirit shine through a little more, and pulling back on the other add-ins, is encouraged.
There's not so much else to this drink—a squeeze of lemon juice and a kiss of honey syrup send the gin off to the shaker, where it gets rumbled together before being served up in a coupe with a little twist of lemon peel. You can make the syrup quickly by simply boiling a little water in a kettle and pouring it over some honey, stirring in more honey to taste.