Commonly attributed to Harry Johnson—who included the recipe in the 1900 edition of his New and Improved Bartender’s Manual—this improbable combo of gin, sweet vermouth, and Chartreuse arose in the late 1800s. Bijou, meaning “jewel” in French, is said to refer to the gem-colored spirits that comprise the recipe. Johnson’s recipe allowed one to choose between a cherry or an olive garnish; history would eventually decide emphatically in the cherry’s favor. This is Dale DeGroff’s version from his book The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks. It changes the balance of the ingredients, increasing the proportion of Plymouth Gin, to create a more delicate, drier version.
- 1 1/2 parts gin, preferably Plymouth Gin
- 1/2 part sweet vermouth
- 1/2 part green Chartreuse
- 1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: 1 lemon twist and 1 maraschino cherry
- Stir the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice and strain into a chilled coupette or cocktail glass.
- Garnish with the lemon twist and maraschino cherry.