Bijou Cocktail

By Robert Hess

Some seem to think the Bijou cocktail should be a layered drink, but it isn’t. The Bijou (meaning jewel in French) cocktail was reportedly invented by Harry Johnson in the 1890's. The oldest recipe I have comes from his 1900 "New And Improved Bartenders Manual", where the instructions clearly state "mix well with a spoon and serve." I can understand why somebody might think the layered presentation would be more appropriate, but it was not the way this drink was originally intended to be served. In a previous episode, you saw Dale DeGroff’s take on this the Ritz Bijou.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 ounce Beefeater gin

1 ounce Chartreuse

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 dash orange bitters

Instructions

Stir ingredients with ice.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with lemon twist and a cherry.

Comments
blair frodelius 7 Dec 2010
6:04 am

Robert,

Interestingly enough, I am currently watching a Japanese anime series entitled “Bartender” and the last episode featured the Bijou.  The bartender created it pousse-cafe style, but then stirred the ingredients to create what he called an “Amber Dream”.  Amber of course, is another type of jewel.

Cheers!

Blair Frodelius
http://goodspiritsnews.wordpress.com

Robert Hess 7 Dec 2010
6:38 am

Somebody else had mentioned to me that they thought the “right” way to make the Bijou was pousse cafe style. So I looked back through all of my material, and it clearly was originally a mixed cocktail as I do it here. And it’s hard for me to understand how a pousse cafe drink would properly include a dash of bitters. So I think this is just somebodies interpretation on the Bijou instead of how it was originally concieved.

BTW… where did you get your copy of the Bartender? I’ve only found one website that sells it, I ordered a copy, which never arrived, and countless emails to them to rectify the problem have gone unanswered.

blair frodelius 7 Dec 2010
6:58 am

Robert,

Here are a few sources for the Bartender DVD set. 

http://www.force-anime.com/bartender-complete-series-3921-p.asp

http://www.otakucastle.com/product_info.php?language=en&currency=USD&products_id=13184623

There are plans to turn the anime series into a live action show next year.

Cheers!

Blair

Chris Milligan 7 Dec 2010
8:06 am

I know the recipe normally calls for green Chartreuse ( emerald), howvere those who may shy from its pungency may enjoy yellow chartreuse in place (call it topaz)

Federico Cuco 7 Dec 2010
8:45 am

I have that cocktail on my menu!
When I was Barback, the head bartender, taught me this recipe.
My first job in a bar was in a golf club, so were preparing several, old drinks.
Thanks for spreading the good cocktail always Mr. Robert.
Greetings from Argentina.

Bijou cocktail recipe, is present in many South American books, the first half of the 20.
El cocktelero argentino(1921)  by Sociedad de Cockteleros

Manual del barman (1924) by Antonio Fernandez

the book of Antonio, says that the cocktail is 3 gems.
Diamonds (gin)
Emerald (green Chartreuse)
Ruby (vermouth torino)
Antonio was the first bartender to found a school in my country

Gretting from argentina

DrRon 7 Dec 2010
9:42 am

Looks tasty!  I’ve been making Last Words lately, and this looks like something sort of out of the same genre, with the gin and green chartreuse - the aromatics should be very nice.  Think I’ll fire-up a batch this evening.

Robert, can you give any information about the cool little glass mixing pitcher?  I’d like to get one of those…

Robert Hess 8 Dec 2010
5:24 am

DrRon,
The mixing glass I am using here is the “Yarai Mixing Glass” from Cocktail Kingdom. Here is a direct link to it:
http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/content/yarai-mixing-glass

DrRon 8 Dec 2010
8:13 am

Thanks for the link, Robert.

tkd7 11 Dec 2010
6:32 am

One of my all time favorite cocktails, although I prefer it with 1.5 oz gin and 0.75 oz Chartreuse and sweet vermouth.  Haven’t tried it with bitters though, perhaps that will dry the drink out a bit as well.

Tom

The Spruce Bruce 13 Dec 2010
10:05 pm

If anyone is interested in the anime or manga for Bartender these links with sastify your curiosity:

http://www.thespectrum.net/features/video/bartender/

http://www.mangafox.com/manga/bartender/

Robert Hess 15 Dec 2010
5:34 am

@Bruce… Thanks!

Robert Hess 15 Dec 2010
5:34 am

Since I mentioned in the video that this drink appears to have been invented by Harry Johnson, and it first appeared in his bartenders guide, I thought I’d share the recipe with you from his 1900 bar guide (reprints available via CocktailKingdom.com).

BIJOU COCKTAIL
(se a large bar glass.)

3/4 glass filled with fine shaved ice;
1/3 wine glass chartreuse (green);
1/3 wine glass vermouth (Italian);
1/3 wine glass of Plymouth gin;
1 dash of orange bitters.
Mix well with a spoon, strain into a cocktail glass; add a cherry or medium-sized olive, squeeze a piece of lemon peel on top and serve.

-Robert

mark wheelis 3 Mar 2011
11:41 am

Thanks for this. I tried it yesterday, and it instantly moved onto my all-time favorites list.

I wonder if this could be the direct ancestor of the Negroni. It seems a short and obvious step to substitute Campari for the chartreuse; much more direct a path than from the Americano. Indeed, if it is the Negroni’s forebear, I would only wonder what took so long.

mark

Robert 6 Jul 2011
12:37 pm

The anime series of bartender isn’t so good, try out the manga, its very approachable and I believe a must read for ALL bartenders.
Check it out on StopTazmo.com Its free to download or just read online

Chili Palmer 12 Jul 2012
6:50 pm

I just tried this one and really like it.  There are some almost savory or beefy notes to it along with the spice components from both the chartreuse and bitters.  A very interesting cocktail and one I am sure to share.

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