Mixology at Home - The Bee’s Knees

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 8:34 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - During Prohibition, people called speakeasys juice joints. Why?

It might have something to do with the taste of that bathtub gin. Bathtub gin was a real thing, sometimes dangerous as well as foul-tasting.

The 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Prohibition, went into effect Jan. 17, 1920. America had, and to some extent still has, a serious drinking problem. There were good reasons to ban alcohol, but it ultimately failed and was repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933. The drinks were supposed to stop being poured. But, banning alcohol just made drinking more fun, that illicit twist.

This is the era where modern cocktails were born. Underground bartenders mixed juices, sodas, and syrups in drinks to mask the disgusting taste of that illegal hootch. We won’t use bathtub gin, but we have to do a gin-based drink in honor of Prohibition.

So, here’s a 1920s creation - the Bee’s Knees.


  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup
  • 2 oz gin
  • Lemon twist or thin lime slice

Directions: Pour ingredients into an ice-filled shaker, shake to chill and strain into rocks glass. Served straight up (meaning no ice in glass). Garnish with a lemon twist or slice of lime.

Another great Prohibition-era cocktail is the French 75: 1 oz gin, 1/2 oz lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 1/2 oz simple syrup, 3 oz champagne (prosecco is also great), garnish with a lemon twist. Add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice and shake to chill; strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne and then garnish. You can use cognac instead of gin and change the ratio of the ingredients.

Rum-based drinks are also good to make, honoring those daredevil rum runners. We all know the Cuba Libre, but do you know it originated with American troops during the Spanish-American War?


  • 1 ½ oz rum
  • 4 oz coke
  • ½ oz lime juice

Directions: Add ice in an old fashioned glass, then lime, rum and coke; stir. Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge.