Cocktail Experiments: the Joya

Cocktail Experiments: the Joya

Cocktail Experiments: the Joya

As I hope you’ve been able to tell by now, we’re big fans of creating new cocktails by means of variation on a theme. It can be extremely challenging to come up with a cocktail recipe from a completely blank slate. But it’s very fun, you learn a lot about your ingredients, and you have a pretty high success rate when you start from an existing recipe.

Hands-down our favorite base for cocktail experimentation is the Negroni:

1 base spirit (gin in the original);

1 fortified wine (sweet vermouth i.t.o.);

1 liqueur (Campari i.t.o.)

The balanced proportions make experimenting easy. The three ingredients allow for plenty of possibilities. And altogether this creates a great environment for endless, enjoyable riffing. Making new iterations of the Negroni is the closest I get to what I imagine playing jazz would be like.

Our friend Dan and we had a little cocktail jam session (via text message) this weekend that led to an excellent new recipe, the Joya.


It starts with the Bijou. The Bijou is actually older than the Negroni (Thanks, Cocktail Chronicles!), but it has the same 1:1:1 proportions, and shares two ingredients; it’s gin, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse (with a dash of bitters). Our Thursday’s Comfort is a variation on the Bijou. The Bijou is delicious, and a particular favorite of Dan.

For a Negroni-themed party awhile ago, we created what we call the Latin Negroni, in which we trade the standard ingredients for their closest Spanish or Latin American equivalents:

Gin ——————-> Tequila

Sweet Vermouth —-> Sherry

Campari ————-> Orange Curacao

It’s a spicy and sour spin on the usually bittersweet Negroni.


But why stop there with the variations? Dan had the idea to Bijou-ize our Latin Negroni:

Gin ——————-> Tequila ———–> Tequila

Sweet Vermouth —-> Sherry ————> Sherry

Campari ————-> Orange Curacao -> Green Chartreuse

He named it the Joya (joya and bijou mean ‘jewel’ in Spanish and French respectively).

The next variation is your move.


The Joya


  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. sherry (Amontillado or Oloroso. Fino is too dry, and cream too sweet)
  • 1 oz. green Chartreuse

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  • stir all ingredients with ice for 40 rotations;
  • strain and serve;
  • enjoy;
  • think of the next step of variation.

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Roberts & June