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January 30, 2014 / Andrew ("the Alchemist")

Drink of the Day – The Bijou Cocktail (á la Waldorf)


Today’s drink of the day is the Bijou Cocktail as served at the Waldorf Hotel bar before prohibition.  It is found in the books Old Waldorf Bar Days (1931) and The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (1935).  The recipes in both of those books by A.S. Crockett were from the hand-written, leather-bound, bar book compiled by Waldorf bar-tender Joseph Taylor during his employ there from 1894 through 1920.

Other, decidedly-different drinks would later be called Bijou Cocktail in other sources, such as Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail [sic] Book.  But, none of those drinks are nearly as good as the Waldorf original, in my opinion.  The Bijou Cocktail (á la Waldorf) is always a big hit during the slings session of the Elemental Mixology Standard Drinks Course.  I remember being surprised by how good it was the first time I had it.  I didn’t expect much from a true cocktail based on a liqueur instead of a spirit.  I now rank it as one of my favorite dozen true cocktails.

The selection of high-quality liquors is, of course, very important for any true cocktail, since the liquor makes up the bulk of the character of that type of drink.  For the orange-flavored brandy liqueur, I favor Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge (their ‘regular,’ red-corded product).  Other high-quality orange-flavored brandy liqueurs such as Ferrand’s terribly-misnamed “Dry Curaçao” [sic] or La Belle Orange are also good in this drink.  If one must save a little money on the orange-flavored brandy liqueur, Gran Gala would also be acceptable.  I use Dolin Dry Vermouth as the vermouth wine, and Angostura Orange Bitters.  I would advise against using any alternatives to those products.  I also wouldn’t recommend any other proportions than the original — 1 pony (1 fluid-ounce) for each of the two liquors.  Try to get tree-ripened, un-waxed lemons for better twisted zest as the garniture.

If you don’t make any other Drink of the Day selections, make this one.  You will like it.

Here is the recipe from my book:

Bijou Cocktail

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