Skip to Content

This article contains affiliate links. We may receive compensation if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Bijou Cocktail

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
Image: ©2foodtrippers

We never heard of the Bijou until we researched 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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover more of our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover our favorite gin cocktails and our favorite sweet vermouth cocktails.

Green Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse Bottle
This bottle of Chartreuse is the only green liqueur in our liquor cabinet. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Gin for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
Pouring an ounce of liquor is easy to do with a Japanese jigger. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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 Green Chartreuse for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
It’s also easy to pour the liquors. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

Pouring Orange Bitters for Bijou Cocktail Recipe
The little bottle of orange bitters provides the Bijou cocktail’s zippy touch. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

Bijou Cocktail Bijou Cocktail
Our excitement built as we stirred this Bijou cocktail. The aromas were divine. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Strain into a small martini glass.

Straining Bijou Cocktail into Martini Glass
 The Bijou immediately sparkles. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Discover why we love Luxardo maraschino cherries and consider them to be worth every penny.

Variations

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Bijou Cocktail in Coupe Glass
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
4.30 from 10 votes

Bijou Recipe

The Bijou is a gem made with four different liquors. Learn how to craft the classic cocktail at home in just five minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 229kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

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

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Are you inspired by this recipe?If so, subscribe to our mailing list for more inspiration.

Thirsty For More Gin Cocktails?

Gin Gimlet Cocktail - Social IMG
Gimlet Recipe
Gin Sour Cocktail
Gin Sour Recipe
Campari Negroni Social IMG
Negroni Recipe
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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
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.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: December 21, 2021

Recipe Rating




Fnarf

Sunday 20th of August 2023

Except green Chartreuse is completely unavailable now. Literally no one in my state (WA) has it for sale, for more than a year. I can get the yellow on Drizly, but it's $190 a bottle! You could probably get twice that for a bottle of green. Have to make do with Dolin Genepy, which is nice but not the same.

Pamela

Friday 5th of May 2023

I only see three liquors listed

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Friday 5th of May 2023

The three liquors are green Chartreuse, dry gin, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. We count the bitters as a liquor here since it has a 28% ABV.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get a free guide to eating like a local when you travel.

2foodtrippers Headshot

Don't Miss A Bite!

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free guide to eating like a local when you travel. 

Get our free guide to eating like a local when you travel.