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Properly Sauced: Bijou Cocktail

By Rob Christopher in Food on Oct 20, 2009 6:00PM

photo by MetaGrrrl
If you were crazy enough to make the Tiki on Acid after we posted about it then chances are you've still got a bottle of green chartreuse in your liquor cabinet. The magical green elixir has such a potent kick that a little goes a long way, and there aren't many cocktails in standard rotation that even try to incorporate its intense herbal flavors.

We've been searching for one that does, and we've found a beauty: the Bijou Cocktail. It's a pre-Prohibition creation that was pretty obscure there for awhile. Then amateur mixologist Rachel Maddow made one on the air for Jimmy Fallon. If that gets this delightful drink into more people's gullets, we say bravo!

Bijou Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. dry gin
1/2 oz. green chartreuse
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)
dash of orange bitters

Stir vigorously with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel or cherry.

This drink has a wonderful balance of sweet, bitter, and herbal flavors. It works equally well before dinner (to wake up your tastebuds) or after dinner (to calm down your stomach.) That may have something to do with the way its taste changes as it approaches room temperature. It begins bracingly but gradually mellows out.

And it looks very elegant too. Serve this and your guests can't help but be impressed.