To Bee or to Bee’s knees


All she could do was breathe until gradually the vibration and static subsided and the scent evaporated into the air. Her rigid body unlocked and she calmed as knowledge filled her mind. This was the arrivals Hall and she was a worker. Her kin was Flora and her number was 717.

I was asked for both book and cocktail recommendations the other day, and well, one lead to the other.

Recommending books is tricky business but I never shy away from it. If I have enough data to work with I usually come up with something, and one can always throw in a few caveats “it might make more sense if you have also read that””it’s debut” etc. The book I ended up recommending,or one of them, was “The bees” by Laline Paull.

I read it in 2015 when it was shortlisted for the Bailey’s women’s prize for fiction, that’s how it got my attention. I’m not really sure how to classify it but I’ll say somewhere between a thriller and a dystopian novel. It’s totalitarian state like in “1984”, but in a beehive and a protagonist that reminds me of Jane Eyre. It was a great read, not my favorite book of 2015 ,not even in the top ten I think,but that is more a reflection of the books read that year(Jill Alexander Essbaum,The Brontës,Thomas Piketty,Heidi Julavits to name a few; it was very good year for books). But it is a good book this time of year, just exciting enough, that thriller storytelling but something to think about I guess. Paull does a good job of creating the society and the characters. A bit repetitive writing but that just means you don’t have to think so much to connect the dots.

And what cocktail did I recommend? I connected the dots and suggested a “Bee’s knees”. Like the Sidecar mentioned in The Marriage plot a “Bee’s Knees” works really well in winter; it’s got the sweetness from the honey, the citrus to ward of colds and a serious gin kick to make you forget it’s two to three months left of winter (or like four up here.)

First you need to make your honey syrup which is easy. Works well in other cocktails, will last in the fridge about two weeks. Using plain honey or liquid honey doesn’t work; the ice will make it clump.

Honey syrup; 

1 cup of water

1 cup of honey

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Do stir it, but softly not to get anything on the edges. When all the honey has dissolved,take it from the heat, let it cool and pour into a clean bottle.

Bee’s knees; yield one cocktail

5 cl gin

2,5 cl freshly pressed lemonjuice

2,5 cl honeysyrup

for serving;


  1. Combine the ingredients in an ice filled shaker.
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Pour into the glass and serve.

The caveats that I made about the cocktail was to make it with smokey whiskey instead of gin for a more wintery feel. Then it’s no longer a Bee’s knee, nor exactly a whiskey sour. But you’ll be happy when you sip it.





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