Bijou Cocktail – Original 1900 Harry Johnson Recipe

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History Of The Bijou Cocktail

This drink was invented by Harry Johnson and was first published in his 1900 edition of The Bartenders Manual. The name Bijou means jewel in French, and is meant to represent the three spirits in this cocktail. The sweet vermouth represents a ruby, the chartreuse represents an emerald, and the dry gin represents a diamond. The original Harry Johnson recipe is stirred, but this cocktail can also be done pousse-café. A layered pousse-café Bijou looks very nice but doesn’t go down the easiest. I will say it’s magical to look at the side of a layered bijou and see the color of individual ingredients. If you layer this cocktail the order to layer in is first:

  1. Sweet Vermouth
  2. Green Chartreuse
  3. Dry Gin

Layering order is pretty easy to figure out for most drinks. Simply put, the sweetest item goes to the bottom and the driest item goes at the top. The sweet vermouth is the sweetest so it goes on the bottom, followed by the Chartreuse and obviously dry gin is the driest of the 3 so it goes at the top. Layering is usually determined by an ingredients gravity, which is a measurement of both sugar content and ABV/ABW. In practical application though ABV is negligible and sugar content is the main contributor to gravity, unless it’s 151 or some other crazy high ABV spirit. Which is why you can add grenadine to a tequila sunrise and it drops to the bottom but 151 will float on top of a zombie cocktail.


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Bijou Cocktail – Original 1900 Harry Johnson Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






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Learn how to make a classic Bijou cocktail first printed in the 1900 edition of Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual. 


  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Green Chartreuse

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Gin


  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.


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