The Bijou cocktail, whose name means "jewel" in French, first appeared in the late 19th century. It was created by Harry Johnson and was first comprehensively documented in his "Bartenders Manual." While the first edition of "Bartenders Manual" was published in 1882, the specific recipe for the Bijou cocktail appeared in a later edition from the late 1890s.
The original recipe for the Bijou cocktail included equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse, along with a dash of orange bitters. This formula was named after the colors of three different jewels: gin representing diamond, sweet vermouth representing ruby, and green Chartreuse representing emerald.
Moving into the 20th century, the Bijou cocktail was quite popular for a time. However, it gradually fell out of favor after the Prohibition era. It wasn't until the 1980s that the cocktail was rediscovered by Dale DeGroff, often referred to as "the King of Cocktails." DeGroff modified the recipe by increasing the proportion of gin, making the taste profile smoother. His version eventually became the modern standard.
Additionally, "The Savoy Cocktail Book," compiled by Harry Craddock in the early 1930s, also featured the Bijou cocktail recipe. This book played a significant role in popularizing many classic cocktails.
Overall, the Bijou cocktail is a classic drink with a rich history and cultural background. From its inception in the late 19th century to its modern-day revival, it has undergone various transformations and has become a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts