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In his new book, Pour Me Another: 250 Ways to Find Your Favorite Drink, Milk Street's editorial director J.M. Hirsch offers ways to discover new cocktails you love, to move from "I don't like gin" to "I like gin when..." One suggestion he has for whiskey drinkers who avoid gin is to try a Bijou, which he describes as herbal, warm, and creamy, like a light Old Fashioned. (He also considers the Bijou a step away from a Manhattan and Vieux Carré.)
Try Hirsch's recipe for a Bijou below—especially if you typically order bourbon drinks instead of gin.
The Bijou is from around 1890, when it was made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Green Chartreuse. It's a combination that is reminiscent of a lighter, brighter Old Fashioned. But the original ratio could leave the Bijou feeling a bit rough at the edges. In recent decades the volume of gin crept up, an improvement credited to bartending legend Dale DeGroff. In this version, I nudge the Green Chartreuse down even more; it easily overwhelms and is best appreciated as a background note. I also add Angostura bitters to the more conventional orange bitters, which—combined with a tiny pinch of salt—results in a perfectly rounded, balanced cocktail.
2 ozs. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash orange bitters
6 to 10 granules kosher salt
1. In a stirring glass, combine the gin, vermouth, Green Chartreuse, both bitters, and the salt. Stir with ice cubes.
2. Strain into a coupe.