Bijou – Original Recipe & History

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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 2 Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz 1 Green Chartreuse

  • 1 oz 1 Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz 1 Dry Gin


  • Technique: Simple Stir
  • Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Add ice to the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds. Try to avoid over-diluting the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.


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The 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 intended 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. The sweetest item goes to the bottom, and the driest thing goes to 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 three, so it goes at the top. Layering is usually determined by an ingredient’s gravity, which measures both sugar content and ABV/ABW. In practical application, though ABV is negligible, sugar content is the main contributor to gravity unless it’s 151 or some other crazy high ABV spirit. 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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