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Introduction to the Bijou Cocktail

The Bijou cocktail is a gem among classic concoctions, boasting a rich history and a vibrant tapestry of flavors. This spirit-forward drink combines gin, sweet vermouth, and green chartreuse with a hint of orange bitters, creating a symphony of taste that’s both complex and harmonious. Let’s delve into the sparkling world of the Bijou and discover what makes it shine.

With its jewel-like colors and potent blend, the Bijou is a cocktail that commands attention. It’s perfect for those who appreciate a drink with depth and a touch of sophistication. Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or new to the world of mixology, the Bijou is a must-try that will not disappoint.

Join us as we explore the intricate layers of this timeless cocktail. From its storied past to the nuances of its flavor profile, the Bijou is a drink that tells a tale in every sip. Get ready to stir up some history and indulge in the elegance of this classic masterpiece.

Key Facts About the Bijou

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 30% ABV (60 Proof)
  • Calories: Roughly 200 kcal per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled cocktail glass
  • Typical Garnish: Cherry or lemon twist

Interesting Facts about the Bijou

The Bijou cocktail is a treasure trove of history and flavor. Here are a few fascinating tidbits:

  • The Bijou dates back to the late 19th century, a testament to its enduring appeal.
  • Its name, meaning “jewel” in French, aptly represents the drink’s colorful ingredients.
  • The cocktail’s balance can be tailored to personal taste, with some preferring a gin-forward mix while others savor the herbal notes of chartreuse.

Bijou Cocktail Preparation

Tasting Notes on the Bijou

The Bijou cocktail is a harmonious blend of botanical, sweet, and herbal notes. Its bold flavors are best suited for those who enjoy a strong, spirit-forward drink. The gin provides a crisp foundation, while the sweet vermouth adds a layer of richness. The green chartreuse, with its herbal complexity, elevates the cocktail to a realm of sophisticated depth.

This cocktail is ideal for special occasions or as a refined end to a gourmet meal. Its complexity makes it a conversation starter, perfect for intimate gatherings or a quiet evening at home. The Bijou’s versatility also allows it to be enjoyed year-round, whether you’re cozying up by the fire in winter or basking in the summer twilight.

History of the Bijou

The Bijou cocktail has a storied past, originating in the golden age of cocktails. Created in the 1890s, it quickly became a favorite among the elite. The drink’s popularity soared, symbolizing the opulence and sophistication of the era. However, as tastes changed, the Bijou faded into obscurity, only to be rediscovered by modern mixologists who appreciated its timeless elegance.

Throughout its history, the Bijou has seen variations in its recipe, reflecting the evolving palates of cocktail aficionados. Despite these changes, the core elements of gin, vermouth, and chartreuse have remained, ensuring the drink’s signature flavor profile endures. The Bijou’s revival has introduced a new generation to its classic charm, securing its place in the pantheon of celebrated cocktails.

Bijou Ingredients

  • Gin – 1 1/2 oz (45 ml): Provides a crisp, juniper-forward base.
  • Sweet Vermouth – 1 oz (30 ml): Adds a rich, herbal sweetness.
  • Green Chartreuse – 1 oz (30 ml): Brings a unique, complex herbal flavor.
  • Orange Bitters – 1 dash: Offers a subtle citrus and bitter counterpoint.

Did you know?

The Bijou cocktail’s ingredients were chosen to represent the colors of precious gems: gin for diamond, vermouth for ruby, and chartreuse for emerald.

Bijou Cocktail Ingredients

Bijou Method

Chilling the Glass

Begin by chilling your cocktail glass to ensure the drink stays cold. This can be done by placing the glass in the freezer or filling it with ice water while you prepare the cocktail.

Combining the Ingredients

In a mixing glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse, and orange bitters. The ice should be fresh and of high quality to prevent dilution.

Stirring to Perfection

Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds. This not only chills the drink but also ensures that the ingredients are well integrated, creating a smooth, even flavor profile.

Straining the Cocktail

Once chilled and mixed, strain the cocktail into the prepared glass. A fine-mesh strainer can be used to remove any unwanted ice shards.

Adding the Garnish

Finish by garnishing with a cherry or a lemon twist. The garnish should complement the drink’s flavors and add a touch of visual appeal.

Serving Suggestion for the Bijou

The Bijou cocktail is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass. The shape of the glass concentrates the aromas, enhancing the drinking experience. When garnishing, a cherry adds a touch of sweetness, while a lemon twist contributes a bright, citrus aroma that contrasts the herbal notes.

Elevating the Bijou

  • Ice Quality: Use large, clear ice cubes to minimize dilution and maintain the cocktail’s strength.
  • Stirring Technique: Stir with a bar spoon using a smooth, even motion to properly chill and dilute the cocktail without bruising the spirits.
  • Garnish Prep: Express the oils of the lemon twist over the drink before adding it to the glass to enhance the citrus notes.

Elevated Bijou Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Bijou

If you’re missing an ingredient or looking to experiment, consider these substitutions:

  • Replace gin with vodka for a milder base.
  • Use a different style of vermouth for a new flavor twist.
  • Try a dash of Angostura bitters if orange bitters are unavailable.

Similar cocktails include the Negroni or the Manhattan, which share the Bijou’s spirit-forward and herbal characteristics.

Add a Twist to the Bijou

Reinvent the Bijou with these creative variations:

  • Infuse the gin with botanicals like lavender or rosemary for an aromatic twist.
  • Add a splash of soda water for a lighter, effervescent version.
  • Muddle fresh herbs like basil or mint for a garden-fresh take on the classic.

Preferred Liquors for the Bijou

For the best Bijou experience, opt for high-quality spirits:

  • Choose a London Dry Gin for its classic, juniper-heavy profile.
  • Select a vermouth like Carpano Antica for its rich, complex flavor.
  • Pick Green Chartreuse for its unmatched herbal blend and authenticity.

Similar Cocktails to the Bijou

If you enjoy the Bijou, you might also like:

  • The Martinez, with its gin and vermouth base, offers a similar taste with a hint of maraschino.
  • The Last Word, another chartreuse-based cocktail, provides a balance of sweet and sour.
  • The Vieux Carr√©, a New Orleans classic, shares the Bijou’s complexity and depth.

Food Pairings to Go with the Bijou

Complement the Bijou with these food pairings:

  • Rich cheeses like blue cheese or aged cheddar balance the cocktail’s intensity.
  • Charcuterie, with its variety of flavors and textures, pairs well with the Bijou’s complexity.
  • Dark chocolate desserts can enhance the herbal notes and add a sweet contrast.

Bijou FAQs

Here are some common questions about the Bijou cocktail:

  • Can I make a Bijou without orange bitters? Yes, though the flavor profile will change slightly. Consider using Angostura bitters as an alternative.
  • Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Bijou? While the Bijou is traditionally alcoholic, you can experiment with non-alcoholic gin and herbal syrups for a similar taste.
  • How can I make my Bijou less strong? Adjust the ratios to increase the vermouth and decrease the gin and chartreuse, or add a splash of soda water.

Bijou Cocktail

The Bijou is a classic cocktail dating back to the late 1800s. The name "Bijou," meaning "jewel" in French, reflects the drink's color scheme: gin for diamond, vermouth for ruby, and chartreuse for emerald. It's a strong, herbal, and spirit-forward cocktail with a complex flavor profile.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 200 kcal


  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Cocktail glass


  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters


  • Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the gin, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse, and orange bitters over the ice.
  • Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds until well-chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist, if desired.


The Bijou cocktail can be adjusted to taste by altering the ratios of the ingredients. Some prefer it with a higher proportion of gin, while others enjoy the herbal notes of chartreuse to be more prominent.
Keyword Bijou, Classic Cocktail, Gin, Green Chartreuse, herbal, Orange Bitters, Spirit Forward, Stirred, strong, sweet vermouth

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