Bijou is French for jewel, and the if-it-ain’t-true-it-oughta-be story is that this elegant drink’s name stems from the fact that each of its ingredients bears the color of a precious stone: diamond (gin), ruby (sweet vermouth), emerald (green chartreuse). One variation of the cocktail is served as a pousse-café or a layered drink, with all three elements presented parfait-style. This is a complete waste of time. Stir them up and render the Bijou a magnificent amber hue greater than the sum of its parts.
I’ve seen the cocktail compared to the martini, which makes sense in theory as they’re both gin-based. But the Bijou is far sweeter and richer, the latter owing to green chartreuse’s herbal pyrotechnics. And the flavor only grows more dense as it settles. A dash of orange bitters, another tie to the martini, anchors the mixture nicely. Use a trace of Campari instead and you have a Tailspin. I like both versions but prefer the subtle citrus note of the original; there’s enough going on here without Campari’s bitterness stirring up trouble. Save that raucousness for the Bowery.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. green chartreuse
dash of orange bitters
Stir. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.