By Pink Lady
In the colder, darker months of early January, once the holiday revelry and excesses have subsided, it can be quite cozy to sit with a simple yet elegant drink and contemplate what lies ahead in the New Year. The Bijou cocktail, made with gin, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse, is an excellent choice for this practice.
The drink was created by Harry Johnson and first appeared in the 1900 edition of his Bartender’s Manual. Johnson named the drink for the jewel toned hues of its ingredients: gin, which is white like a diamond, sweet vermouth, a deep ruby hue, and green Chartreuse, the color of an emerald. This drink is spirit forward and herbaceous, and as elegant as its namesake.
If you’re new to Chartreuse, it is one of the most beloved liqueurs amongst bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts worldwide. Made by a silent order of Carthusian monks in the French Alps, the liqueur is based on a manuscript containing a recipe for an “elixir for long life” that was gifted to the order in 1605. The formula, which contains 130 herbs and plants, is proprietary and known in part by only three of the brothers in the order so as to preserve its secrecy.
Last year, the monks made headlines when they announced they would be capping production on the world-famous liqueur, to better focus on a contemplative life devoted to prayer. Pithy headlines abounded, such as “The Monks Who Make Chartreuse Don’t Care About Your Fancy Cocktails” (WALL STREET JOURNAL) and “Quiet Quitting? The French Monks Behind Chartreuse Are Making Less Liqueur to Focus on Solitude” (WALL STREET JOURNAL).
Suffice it to say, bottles of Chartreuse are harder to come by now and cost quite a bit more when you can find them. But that will just make this cocktail feel even more special as you stir one up and contemplate what’s ahead in 2024. Perhaps we should all be like the Carthusian monks and make knowing our worth and protecting our peace a priority in 2024.
1 1/2 ounces of gin
1 ounce of sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce of green Chartreuse
2 DASHES of orange bitters
STIR with ice in a mixing glass.
STRAIN into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. GARNISH with a maraschino cherry.