How to make the Bijou, a classic gin cocktail.
The Bijou is an intensely flavored sipper that is great for those who love the complex and herbal.
It is said to be called the Bijou, which means jewel in french, because of the brightly colored components that make it up.
The older recipes that date back to the 1800’s use proportions modeled after a Negroni by using equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and chartreuse.
Those three main ingredients all provide quite different flavors but Chartreuse is certainly the most dominating…and for that reason I like to adjust the ratios a bit.
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Adjusting the classic Bijou proportions
Chartreuse and Campari are two components that when used in large amounts seem to really overpower drinks (in my opinion), so I typically try a drink the way it was first made and then tweak the recipe to suit my tastes.
It is not even that I don’t enjoy the taste of Chartreuse because I do!
I just think it can make an unbalanced drink if not used sparingly.
Another addition to the original recipe is the little drops of absinthe that I enjoy adding.
I first saw this in the Dead Rabbit cocktail book and have been using it ever since. Absinthe can give you a nice little herbal boost for another dimension of flavor and it also happens to nicely compliment the vermouth that I used.
That brings us to the vermouth.
Much like a Negroni, the final flavor of your Bijou will come down to the Gin and Vermouth that you choose. For this drink I like to choose a spicy and lighter vermouth and I think that Berto provides a perfect example of this.
Berto certainly has the dark fruit and raisin characteristics of sweet vermouth but it also has a lighter side with bright spices and a distinct anise flavor that works in beautifully with the Chartreuse.
It is a pretty straight forward drink so choose your favorite gin, add everything together and stir away.
Finish it off with an orange zest to help brighten it up and cut through the booze. If you want a little extra dilution this drink is the perfect candidate to be poured on the rocks.
- 1 1/2 Oz Gin
- 1 1/4 Oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1/3 Oz Green Chartreuse
- 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
- 2 Dashes Absinthe
- 1 Orange Peel
- Add all the ingredients to your mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir until desired chill and dilution is reached.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a rocks glass with ice.
- Express the oils from the orange peel and drop it in for garnish.