The Emerald Bijou?

I really try to ignore St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a time when the fair-weather drinkers like to lay into the stuff, making bars about the last place I want to be. And as someone who’s let this particular interest slip among colleagues and casual acquaintances, it’s the time of year when I invariably get asked how to make an Irish car bomb, or what’s my favorite green drink. It’s almost enough to make you go on the wagon (fortunately, there’s Rick’s booze-whopper “Limit: One” Mixology Monday coming up, so I’ll be spared that particular inconvenience).

But hey, here it comes, and while preparing for my Serious Eats post earlier this evening I was digging through books looking for the earliest recipe for the Emerald I could find — this version, that is, not one of the handful of other drinks that have gone under that name — when I came across one such Emerald variation in Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide that seemed worth a shot.

And no wonder — after a closer look at the recipe, I had one of those “hey, wait a minute–” moments, and realized this is simply a Bijou wearing a different hat. (And I know this very same drink pops up again with a different name somewhere — no, I’m not thinking of the Tailspin, that’s got a dash of Campari in place of the orange bitters — so if anybody has better recall than I do, please chime in with a comment.)

But what the hell — Emerald, Bijou, whatever, it’s a nice drink. If you need something that sounds kind of Irish on the big day, but want to avoid the typical crap, keep the Emerald name on the drink and go for it.

Emerald / Bijou / ????

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce green Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Stir well with ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass.

12 Responses to The Emerald Bijou?

  1. There’s also the Jewel. It’s written for 6 peple in older cocktail books (Savoy, etc.), but the proportions are the same as the Bijou.

    Jewel Cocktail
    (6 People)
    2 Glasses Green Chartreuse.
    2 Glasses Italian Vermouth.
    2 Glasses Gin.
    1/2 Dessertspoonful Orange Bitters.
    Shake thoroughly and serve with a cherry, squeezing lemon peel on top.

    By the way, my notes tell me the Bijou can be traced back to the early editions of Harry McElhone’s cocktail guides.

  2. Oh, St Patty’s—the day when all of America assumes the most stereotypically rowdy aspects of Irish culture as an excuse to drink too much and sleep with random strangers!

    I’ll be at home listening to Thin Lizzy and having a decidedly non-green pint, thankyouverymuch.

  3. Yeah, it’s also called the Jewel, which is, of course, just a literal translation of the French “bijou.” A great cocktail, but if you hand it out to your fair-weather-imbiber friends, they’ll be disappointed it’s not actually green. 😉

    Actually, if they insist on green and want to remain respectable, how about Chartreuse on the rocks? About as complex, spicy, and thought-provoking a drink as ever you had, and you only need one, to boot! 😛

  4. hmmmm, i’ve heard that about the tailspin before, though my resources don’t mention it…. my library, though, is definitely smaller than yours. i know the zig zag had the tailspin on their menu and didn’t include the campari. i was going to do this post on the variations mxmo, but forgot. cocktaildb lists all four, all four have the same ingredients but each have varying proportions and each have a different garnish. would love to know when the tailspin first pops up in your library…

  5. ——————————————————————————–

    I sent this in For this months “one and done” Mixology Monday entry. After reading the excellent recipes above, thought I would share this with your readers too.
    Your choice to start, or finish, or both, the Greatest Day of the Year. The bartenders high holiday.
    This is a dangerous little leprechaun. I first put this togehter for New Years Eve 1989-90 and called it
    “The End of the 80’s” .
    Since then at my Saloon in Norwich,CT, Wilson’s Historic Saloon, Est. 1880’s, it has been called “Gumby on Acid” and now and for ever….
    The Cronin Cocktail ….. named after my grandfather Charles Burke Cronin.
    Historically using the Chartreuse and Champagne is Irish. The De Bourgs migrated from France to Ireland
    way back in Ireland’s History. Certainly one of the main reasons why the Irish are such great romanticists and lovers. No, I haven’t had a Cronin Cocktail yet today, but I do have the fixins within arms reach of my desk. Slante’

    The Cronin Cocktail

    One – Chilled Champagne flute filled 2/3( about 4 OZ.) with “over chilled” premium champagne.
    Two- Fill a Soda straw with 110 proof Green Chartreuse. 1 0Z. is plenty.
    Three- Cover end of straw with thumb and carefully slide straw to the bottom of flute of champagne
    Four- Release thumb and create pool of Green Chartreuse in bottom of flute
    Five – Raise a careful toast or two, after all it is St Patrick’s Day, sipping the champagne only.
    Six – After a couple wee toasts, finish it off.

    Ah ST. Patrck’s Day

    Irish music all day,Tears for my Father, Beers with my Friends, Quiet words, Loud laughter, and then it ends.

  6. Robert Hess lists the Tailspin as the dash-of-Campari variation, on DrinkBoy, and my experience is he’s exacting when it comes to those details. You might also apply to him for an answer.

  7. Well, Robert, in an email to me, wondered where he got the recipe too. He couldn’t find it in his literature… that was over a year ago, so maybe he’s found it by now…

  8. The last time I looked, the earliest recipe for the Tailspin I could find was in Stan Jones’ “Jones’ Complete Bar Guide.”

    But I’m pretty sure that book is just a compilation of other sources, so it must have come from somewhere.

    I noticed a bunch of Campari drinks in an edition of, “Cocktail Bill Boothby’s World Drinks And How To Mix Them,” I recently got, so that might be a good place to look. I’ll have to take a look tonight.

  9. Apperently Bijou is sometimes made with grand marnier or orange curacao instead of chartreuse. Even as far back as 1895 according to David Wondrich (Imbibe page 258). But the name Bijou should refer to the color? hhhmmmm?

    both versions are great drinks, even though I like pushing on the Gin making it a less rich drink.

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