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Bijou Cocktail Recipe

The Bijou cocktail is a bold and boozy jewel that we covet all year long but especially during the holidays. The opposite of a lightweight, this sparkly amber cocktail adds a festive flair to any drinking session.

Bijou Cocktail with Black Background

We never heard of the Bijou until we started researching cocktail recipes with green Chartreuse.

After we crafted our first Bijou at home, we wondered why the potent potable isn’t more more popular. By the time we crafted our second, we were too giddy to care.

What Is the Bijou Cocktail?

Bijou Cocktail with Blue Border
The Bijou is a gem of a cocktail.

Merriam-Webster defines the word bijou as “something delicate, elegant, or highly prized” and we can’t think of a better way to describe the Bijou cocktail. In French, the word literally translates to jewel.

Big and boozy with no less than four liquors in its recipe, the Bijou packs a punch despite its sparkly appearance. Some people liken each liquor to a different gem but the finished product – a balanced, amber drink that’s reminiscent of a Manhattan with a bonus hint of herbaceousness – is a genuine jewel.

History of the Bijou Cocktail

Bijou Cocktail on Ledge
The Bijou cocktail’s history proves that everything old is new again.

Invented by Harry Johnson more than a century ago and documented in his New and Improved Bartender’s Manual, the Bijou cocktail is a classic cocktail that failed the test of time… until it didn’t.

The pre-prohibition tippler disappeared from most cocktail bars for decades before reappearing, albeit with a modified recipe. Modern recipes use more gin and less green Chartreuse and sweet vermouth. We’ve decided to stick to the original lower gin ratio in our recipe.

We’re purists who prefer Johnson’s original recipe and bold flavors. If you’re crafting this at home, we say try it both ways. Unlike us, you may prefer more gin in your Bijou.

Bijou Cocktail Ingredients

Bijou Cocktail Ingredients and Bar Tools
The Bijou’s ingredient list includes four different liquors (green Chartreuse, dry gin, sweet vermouth and orange bitters). Maraschino cherry and lemon peel serve as garnishes. Ice is also necessary for stirring.

The Bijou shines brightly in the cocktail collective thanks to ingredients that sparkle like jewels. We’re talking about emerald-green Chartreuse, diamond-like gin and ruby-red sweet vermouth. Here’s the full list of Bijou ingredients:

  • Green Chartreuse
  • Dry Gin
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Orange Bitters
  • Ice Cubes (for mixing)
  • Maraschino Cherry (garnish)
  • Lemon Peel (garnish)
Liquor Bottles for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
Pictured left to right, dry gin, green Chartreuse, orange bitters and sweet vermouth are the Bijou cocktail’s four alcoholic ingredients.

No lightweight, the Bijou recipe has four liquors – green Chartreuse, dry gin, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. While gin and vermouth are fairly common, green Chartreuse and orange bitters are a bit more exclusive.

Green Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse Bottle
This bottle of Chartreuse is the only green liqueur in our liquor cabinet.

Green Chartreuse isn’t a fixture in most liquor cabinets but maybe it should be. With its green hue and herbaceous flavors, the liqueur is a challenge due to its availability and price. Thanks to its unique flavors, it’s also a savior for motivated mixologists looking to craft their next great drink.

Produced in the town of Voiron, France, the verdant liqueur is a potent potable with a 55% ABV. Carthusian monks created the first batch batch in 1737 and the recipe, featuring a blend of 130 herbs and plants, remains a secret to this day.

Orange Bitters

Orange Bitters Bottle
Adding orange bitters gives the Bijou cocktail a pithy zing.

We bought a bottle of Angostura orange bitters specifically to craft this cocktail recipe and we’re glad we did. With an aromatic blend of orange extracts and spices, these bitters smell delightful while adding a pleasant kick thanks to the 28% ABV.

Buy bottles of Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Green Chartreuse and/or Angostura Bitters from Drizly or Total Wine if you live in the US.

How To Craft a Bijou Cocktail

Crafted Bijou Cocktail with Bottles
Once you craft your first Bijou cocktail, you’ll likely add the recipe to your mixology repertoire.

Crafting a Bijou cocktail is easy to do at home. Our recipe requires the following basic bar tools:

Don’t worry if you don’t have any or all of these tools. Each is inexpensive. Plus, you can improvise in a pinch if you don’t already own them.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Measuring Gin for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
Pouring an ounce of liquor is easy to do with a Japanese jigger.

The first step is to measure the green Chartreuse, dry gin and sweet vermouth. We like to use a Japanese jigger to ensure accurate measurements and make clean pours.

Buy a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Pouring Green Chartreuse for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
It’s also easy to pour the liquors.

We recommend pouring the liquids directly into a mixing glass as you measure each. We used our Boston shaker in lieu of a mixing glass but you can use a vessel of your choice.

Pouring Orange Bitters for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
The little bottle of orange bitters provides the Bijou cocktail’s zippy touch.

The next step is to add a dash of orange bitters. We used Angostura orange bitters but any brand will suffice.

Bijou Cocktail Bijou Cocktail
Our excitement built as we stirred this Bijou cocktail. The aromas were divine.

Add a good amount of ice and stir the four liquors until they’re combined and chilled. This step should take about 20 seconds.

Expressing Coupe Glass for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
Lemon peel doubles as both a garnish and flavor enhancer if you use it to express the glass like we did here.

The last step is to garnish the cocktail with lemon peel and a maraschino cherry. But first, express your glass by rubbing the lemon peel around its rim.

Buy a jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries after you discover why we love Luxardo maraschino cherries and consider them to be worth every penny.

Bijou Cocktail Alternatives

Bijou Cocktail with Black Background from Above
Why settle for one garnish? We garnished this Bijou cocktail with both lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.

The original Bijou cocktail recipe hits our cocktail sweet spot with its bold flavors and rich color. However, you may want to craft a different gem. If so, the following ideas will get you started:

  • Craft a modern Bijou by modifying the gin / sweet vermouth / green Chartreuse ratio from 1:1:1 to 3:1:1.
  • Pull out the bourbon and craft a Manhattan, Boulevardier or Old Fashioned if you don’t have a bottle of green Chartreuse in your liquor cabinet.

Bijou Cocktail FAQs

What is a Bijou cocktail?

The Bijou is a a balanced, amber drink that’s reminiscent of a Manhattan with a bonus hint of herbaceousness.

What are the ingredients in a Bijou?

Green Chartreuse, Dry Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Orange Bitters, Ice Cubes (for mixing), Maraschino Cherry (garnish) and Lemon Peel (garnish)

Where was the Bijou cocktail invented?

Despite its French name, the Bijou was invented in the United States.

Is the Bijou shaken or stirred?

The Bijou is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for the Bijou?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.

Bijou Cocktail Recipe

Bijou Cocktail with White Background Square

Bijou Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Bijou is a gem made with four different liquors. Learn how to craft the classic cocktail at home in just five minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce dry gin
  • 1 ounce green Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry, garnish
  • lemon peel, garnish
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine the gin, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth and orange bitters in a mixing glass.
  2. Add several ice cubes and stir until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe or martini glass.
  4. Garnish with lemon peel and a maraschino cherry after you express the rim of the glass with the lemon peel.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Original Publication Date: December 21, 2021

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