Bijou is a lovely pre-prohibition cocktail made from gin, sweet red vermouth, orange bitters, and green Chartreuse (French herbal liqueur available in green and yellow versions that differ in taste and alcohol content). The original recipe calls for equal parts of all ingredients and a dash of bitters, so we’re going to respect that as well. That being said, if that recipe doesn’t soothe your taste, we recommend adding half an ounce of gin, slightly lower the amount of Chartreuse and just add one more dash of bitters. 😉
The one responsible for this beautiful cocktail is the American bartender Harry Johnson. Johnson also included the recipe in his 1900s “New and Improved Bartenders Manual” edition and named it for the tones of its ingredients. According to him, the drink had the colors of three jewels. Diamond – gin, Ruby – Vermouth, and Emerald – Chartreuse. The name of this cocktail is actually French and translated to English, it means Jewel.
After prohibition, the Bijou disappeared for some time but was rediscovered by Dale DeGroff a.k.a. “The King of Cocktails” in the 1980s. DeGroff’s recipe is slightly different though. He tripled the amount of gin to vermouth and Chartreuse in order to soften the taste. His recipe has now become the standard one to use.
Bijou cocktail – Ingredients and preparation:
- In a mixing glass filled with ice, add equal amounts of gin, red vermouth, and Chartreuse. Add a dash or two of orange bitters.
- Stir and strain into a coupe glass.
- Cocktail cherry, orange peel as garnish.