Take a colorful twist on a classic cocktail with this easy blood orange bees knees cocktail. Perfect for festive toasts, Valentines day or any occasion!
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It's most definitely citrus season, and we have been making the most of it in our house. The kids have been digging in to chunks of orange pretty much every day, which naturally I can't complain about.
Sometimes I'll incorporate citrus in to simple salads, like my fennel citrus salad or beetroot and blood orange salad. Then I love the flavor of lemon curd and added to baked goods like Meyer lemon cookies and chocolate orange cinnamon rolls.
Then, or course, there are cocktails. Orange slices and a touch of lemon are a great addition in my cranberry sangria but I felt like making the most of the lovely color of blood oranges. It naturally feels like a Valentine's cocktail with the bright pink-y red color.
I decided to use blood orange in a simple adaptation of a classic cocktail, a bees knees. It's a cocktail from the Prohibition era, and like many from that time it's simple and fairly strong. The phrase "the bee's knees" is from that era meaning the best, and I guess that's what people thought of this cocktail.
How do you make the drink bees knees?
- Make honey syrup, by mixing equal parts hot water and honey.
- Put honey syrup with gin, lemon juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
- Strain into a cocktail glass and top with a lemon twist.
Here I have swapped the lemon juice for blood orange juice to give that fantastic color. Since blood orange juice doesn't have quite the same punch, I've added a squeeze of lemon as well. You can increase this a bit to taste.
Given the high proportion of gin in this to juice, this cocktail is not for the faint hearted. However the honey really helps to mellow it out.
Here I just made enough honey syrup to make the one drink, but you can easily make a larger batch if you want to. If you do, you may want to warm it in a small pan over the stove to help the honey mix in properly.
This blood orange bees knees is an easy cocktail to make, bright and bold. Cheers to citrus season, or whatever your excuse!
Try these other pink cocktails/ mocktails for Valentine's day:
- strawberry bellini - super easy, light and so pretty.
- warm cranberry cocktail - a great option if it's cold outside, can be made as a mocktail too.
- cranberry whiskey sour - easy, relatively strong but so drinkable.
- watermelon coconut agua fresca - OK it's not watermelon season, but if you can get some, this is so refreshing, and non-alcoholic too.
- My friends at Gastronom also pulled together a great list of elegant Valentine's Day Cocktails.
Also, get more cocktail recipes in the archives.
Blood orange bees knees cocktail
- ½ tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon hot water
- 0.75 oz blood orange juice (approx 1 blood orange)
- 2 oz gin
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- Make the honey syrup by mixing equal parts hot water and honey. Stir until blended.
- Squeeze the blood orange juice, if using fresh.
- Put honey syrup with gin, blood orange juice, lemon juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass and top with a lemon (or blood orange) twist.