MixMo: Gin or The Fancy Orange Bijou

I get warnings and notices, but they still always sneak up on me: Mixology Mondays, adding to my work load once a month (thanks a lot, Paul!) This one was no different, as it totally escaped my mind until I happened to be doing my blog crawl and came across Jay’s, who happens to be hosting this month. The theme this month is GIN, which allows a lot of room for creativity.

The first cocktail that I’m going to cover has been my go to gin cocktail for years now, and is what is made whenever someone tells me that they absolutely love gin, and want me to create something for them off of the menu. It also has the timely benefit of being a drink by the magnanimous Jerry Thomas, a subject that has recently been covered by our good friend, David Wondrich. If you haven’t purchased his book yet, do so. If you’re not sure why you should purchase this book, (as if my suggestion wasn’t enough), go over to Paul’s blog and read why.
Jerry Thomas’s Fancy Gin Cocktail is the perfect showcase for a tasty gin. As per usual, when I recreate ancient cocktail recipes, I have to add the caveat that this is my interpretation of Jerry’s drink. In many instances ingredients are not available, (in this case Bogart’s bitters have been replaced with my own), and more often than not, I find my palate is substantially different from the original creator’s.

The beautiful thing about the Fancy Gin Cocktail is its simplicity. Citrus notes added to a well crafted gin will always work, and this is the perfect example of that premise in action. Without further ado:

2 oz gin (If you can get your hands on it, Plymouth Navy Strength)
2 barspoons Cointreau
2 dashes Boudreau’s Citrus bitters (Regan’s will do)
1 dash simple syrup (for texture)
lemon twist
stir, strain into Riesling glass

Since this drink will be impossible to recreate for most people (if you think Navy Strength gin is hard to get, try acquiring some of my bitters), we are going to cover some other gin drinks as well.

Next up will be another potation from the 1800’s, Harry Johnson’s Bijou. I’ve always found that one of the most complementary spirits for gin (other than vermouth, of course) is Chartreuse. As such the Bijou is a sublime cocktail, combining gin with vermouth and Chartreuse. Johnson’s recipe called for equal parts of all three ingredients, and while that may make for a memorable recipe, it is much too sticky sweet for my liking.
So, tampering with these venerable recipes as I always do (that’s right, there is no respect over here), I’ve come up with this variation of the Bijou:

1 ½ oz gin
¾ oz Yellow Chartreuse
¾ oz Cinzanno Rosso
2 dashes of orange bitters
stir, strain into cocktail glass
lemon twist garnish

Johnson called for green Chartreuse, which I felt made the drink a little overwhelming (at 55% alcohol, it will knock you on your butt, but fast!), so I’ve switched over to the more honeyed yellow version. I’ve also upped the quantities of gin and bitters to help better balance the whole thing out.
If you think that the lemon twist is there to make the whole thing look pretty, think again. The oils from that little zest will definitely brighten the whole concoction, and also make the cocktail seem less sweet. This is a great drink to ease the timid into the world of Chartreuse.

To cap off Mixology Monday, (and also ensure that I can end with my tag of: Drink and picture by…) I’ll provide you with a Jamie original.
Now that we’ve all finished our batches of home-made Amer Picon (we have finished, haven’t we?) we are probably looking for new and unusual uses for it. While I’ve found that Amer Picon pairs wonderfully with the brown spirits, it’s not quite as friendly with the white ones, and so began my quest to create a series of Amer Picon drinks for the likes of gin, tequila, rum, et al. Seeing as today’s topic is gin, let’s start with the:

2 oz gin
¾ oz Amer Picon
½ oz Lillet blanc
stir over ice
strain into a chilled cocktail glass
twist a strip over orange zest over the cocktail but don’t drop it in

The Lillet helps to stretch out the Amer Picon, allowing the gin to exercise some muscle. Make sure not to drop the orange into the finished product, as it will just be too much, for you are using the oils to help brighten the drink and you don’t want to overload the cocktail with orange notes, as there are enough of those in the Amer and Lillet.

There you have it, another Mixology Monday under the belt. See you next time, when we celebrate Mixology Monday and Repeal Day at the same time!

Pictures and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau


~ by Jamie Boudreau on November 12, 2007.

3 Responses to “MixMo: Gin or The Fancy Orange Bijou”

  1. Lovely. These definitely go on the drinks to try list.

    I absolutely agree with regard to the loving relationship between lemon zest and Chartreuse.

  2. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  3. FINALLY got to try this drink! Very nice Jaime, thanks. Mine turned out quite a bit darker, but I’m using Picon from France.

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