Bijou

A smooth and boozy relic. Great on spring nights.

Data

  • Served in coupe
  • 37% ABV
  • Garnish with Cherry

Source

The Savoy Cocktail Book

Tags

Ingredients

Gin Plymouth or London Dry x 2.0cl 0.67oz
Sweet vermouth 2.0cl 0.67oz
Green Chartreuse 2.0cl 0.67oz
Orange bitters One dash
Use ounces
Use centiliters

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice.
  2. Stir until very cold.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass.
  4. Squeeze the oils from a lemon peel and discard the peel.
  5. Garnish with a cherry.

Information

Harry Johnson, a bartender of German extraction who worked mostly in Chicago and New York, is widely credited as the bartender who first created a cocktail called the Bijou that utilized gin, sweet vermouth and Chartreuse with a dash of orange bitters. In any case, he was at least the first to write down the recipe, as the 1900 edition of his Bartender’s Manual is the first place it saw print. But one can safely say it was being mixed earlier, at some point during that mixological heyday when bartenders first began mixing vermouth and strong spirits in the late 1860s or early 1870s, because in 1895, a Cincinnati bartender, C.F. Lawlor, published The Mixicologist. That edition featured a different Bijou, one that utilized the more common Grand Marnier in place of the Chartreuse, but was otherwise identical to Johnson’s formula.

Lawlor’s drink is nice, but not nearly as intriguing as Johnson’ published version with Chartreuse, and it was Johnson’ recipe that spread, appearing verbatim in subsequent bar manuals including Jack’s Manual in 1904 and The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. It is not really known if Johnson created the drink—Johnson’s own memories and recollections are often at odds with demonstrable, historical facts—but he certainly is at least partly responsible for it spreading far and wide, and the inclination is to let him lay claim to the drink, as no one else has come forward to wrest the title from him.

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