Attempting Chartreuse, Part Un: The Last Word
Okay, hi. Hello there. How are you? You good? Good, good, good.
Sit down. This might upset you. I say this because the following sentence does seem to upset certain people. *cough cough highbrow bartenders who are super into amari cough*
Okay. So, yes. Deep breath, aaaannnnnd...
I am afraid of Chartreuse.
In fact, I do not like it. At all.
We cool? Take a momo if you need it. I'll wait.
So at a recent party this declaration led to Kevin, the person that everyone in our social circle refers to as "The Hot Bartender" when he is not around, to kind of lose his shit at us all.
His opinion is that Chartreuse is one of the most complicated and revered spirits ever created. (And, in fact, he is probably correct.) Kevin insists that modern mixologists are nothing to the Carthusian monks who began distilling it back in 1605. For the last four-hundred-and-eleven years the recipe has remained relatively unchanged and is only known to two people at any given time in order to keep it top secret.
The recipe was originally thought to be an elixir of long life and good health. In actuality, it's a neat digestif and often mixed with gin to get you thrashed. Isn't history neat?
The spirit owes its flavor to the 130 botanicals that go into it. The result is this pale emerald liquid that is most often appreciated by the elderly or those attempting to cultivate a posh image.
You may have also heard Quentin Tarantino insist that Chartreuse is, "...the only liqueur so good they named a color after it." This, in fact, is true. The color was first coined after the spirit in 1884 according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Crazy, right?*
I'm with the girl, though. Tasting it straight is... brutal. Nasty spiritses.
Kevin The Hot Bartender describes it thus: "It's like a magical woodland fairy came out of the tall grass and then punched you in the face."
A seriously homo but apt description. Yes, fine, sure you can taste the liqueur go through stages across your tongue. Pine, fennel, rosemary, parsley, sage... it's all there. From a neutral standpoint it's a fascinating feat what this liqueur accomplishes.
Except for the part that it tastes like someone took every herb at the market, ground it into a paste, mixed in some Dimetapp and Jersey Lightning for good measure, and poured it into your face hole.
Still, I was curious. I challenged Kevin to find a few drinks that would make me not only enjoy Chartreuse, but love it enough that I would purchase my own bottle.
So here we are. Two days later I'm in his kitchen trying not to stare at his pretty face while he makes me something special. The Last Word.
Yes, well, we shall see Hot Bartender Kevin. WE SHALL SEE.
*By the by, if you want a bit more history on Chartreuse, Molotov Cocktail has a great write-up.
The Last Word
Okay, so this is a classic cocktail. In fact, you can probably find the recipe in numerous blogs and books but we're going to do it again.
So admittedly, I've got to say I like this cocktail. I was surprised. Then again, I've never turned down a man who brought me a glass with gin and lime in it. Add Maraschino liqueur and, simply put, I'll be obedient for the rest of the night. No question.
Bitter, nutty, sour, sweet. I get why it's a classic.
Sneaky Hot Bartender making me love this sneaky green liqueur so easily...
What You'll Need:
- .75 ounces gin (I used Tanqueray; balanced and easy)
- .75 Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- .75 Green Chartreuse
- .75 lime juice
What You'll Do:
Shake with ice and strain. Easy AF.