Bee Sting Cocktail

published Apr 4, 2024
Bee Sting Cocktail Recipe

A spicy twist on the classic gin cocktail, made with honey, fresh lemons, and jalapeño peppers.



Prep5 minutes

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Photo of a single bee sting cocktail with sliced jalapeno pepper garnish.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

One of my favorite bright, zesty cocktails is a bee’s knees cocktail. It’s lightly sweetened with honey and tangy from freshly squeezed lemon juice. But as someone who loves all things spicy (including my cocktails), it’s time for you to try a bee sting cocktail — a spicy version of the bee’s knees. It has just the right amount of spice, owing to a jalapeño pepper. Plus, it’s the perfect drink to sip at any time of the day.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Instead of simple syrup, you’ll make a honey-lemon syrup! It makes the cocktail pleasantly sweet and is just as easy to make.
  • You only need four ingredients (plus salt, water, and ice), and all of them are easy-to-find pantry items.

Key Ingredients in a Bee Sting Cocktail

  • Lemon. The key flavoring ingredient that makes this cocktail wonderfully zesty. The recipe uses both zest and juice to bring different levels of lemony flavors.
  • Honey. Floral, sweet honey balances the brightness of lemon. 
  • Jalapeño pepper. A few slices of jalapeño pepper makes this drink extra special. It’s not overly spicy, and if you are worried about the spice, use less. If you want more spice, add more.
  • Gin. The base liquor to make bee sting cocktails is gin, but you can also use tequila or even vodka. 

How to Make a Bee Sting Cocktail

  1. Make a honey-lemon syrup. Make a honey-lemon syrup by cooking lemon zest, honey, water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan until it’s slightly reduced.
  2. Muddle jalapeño slices in lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and muddle jalapeño slices in lemon juice to extract spicy flavors from the pepper.
  3. Add your ingredients. Add gin, honey-lemon syrup, and plenty of ice.
  4. Shake and serve. Close the top and shake until it’s slightly frothy. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass, and garnish with jalapeño slices. 

Bee Sting Cocktail Recipe

A spicy twist on the classic gin cocktail, made with honey, fresh lemons, and jalapeño peppers.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1

Serves 1

Nutritional Info


For the honey-lemon syrup (makes 1/2 cup, enough for 4 drinks):

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 pinch

    kosher salt

For each cocktail:

  • 1 ounce

    lemon juice

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 2 ounces


  • 1 ounce

    honey-lemon syrup (recipe above)

  • Ice


Make the honey-lemon syrup:

  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons); reserve the lemon for the cocktail. Place 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup water, and 1 pinch kosher salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the honey and salt dissolve. Turn off the heat, add the lemon zest, and stir to combine.

  2. Pour into a heatproof airtight container and let cool until warm, about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

For each cocktail:

  1. Refrigerate or freeze a 4-ounce or larger coupe glass for at least 5 minutes.

  2. Juice the zested lemon until you have 1 ounce. Cut 4 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds from 1/2 medium jalapeño. Place 2 of the rounds in a cocktail shaker and gently muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon. Add the lemon juice, 2 ounces gin, and 1 ounce of the honey-lemon syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  3. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass. Garnish with the remaining 2 jalapeño rounds.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The honey-lemon syrup can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week ahead.