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Archive for the ‘Yellow Chartreuse’ Category

We’re always sad to say goodbye to summer, but happy to welcome a new season of drinking and all that that entails. If you read this week’s column in the Dig you know we are all about the fall-tastic flavors you can create with a little Allspice Dram. Since this also happens to be National Bourbon Heritage Month (more on that later) we recommend a segue into fall that combines the two:

LION’S TAIL
2 ounces bourbon
.5 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
.5 ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Or show ‘em what you’re made of with one of these:
NONE BUT THE BRAVE
1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz pimento dram
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz Jamaican rum
.25 tsp sugar
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

And if all you’re really after is cuddling up to something a little more spicy and complex, here are some great cocktails to try as the leaves start to turn.

WIDOW’S KISS
1.5 oz Calvados
.75 oz Benedictine
.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

BRANDY SCAFFA
1.5 oz brandy
.75 oz Green Chatreuse
.5 oz maraschino liqueur
Stir in a mixing glass with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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tarragone_p2Chartreuse is an enchanting liqueur if there ever was one. As we covered in this week’s Dig, the Chartreuse we drink today is based on a recipe for an “Elixir of Long Life” that was handed down to the Order of Carthusian monks in the 17th century. Reputed since their founding in 1084 as the Catholic Church’s strictest order, the monks “dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in permanent silence.” Sales of chartreuse liqueur, which is most commonly found in green (its original form) and yellow, support the contemplative order.

Though the Carthusian monks were handed the manuscript for the “Elixir of Long Life” in 1605, it took over a century for them to decode it into something drinkable, the Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse which was first distilled in 1737. 130 different botanicals and plant extracts are used as ingredients, and the drink takes is signature color from the chlorophyll therein.frenchmusthavechartreuse-9-1-19041 The original stuff was a 71% alcohol, 147 proof, but recognizing the popularity of chartreuse as more than just a medicine, the monks created a more palatable 55% alcohol, 110 proof version which is what we know and love as green chartreuse today. In 1838 the Carthusians introduced the even milder, sweeter yellow chartreuse, which weighs in at 40% alcohol, 80 proof. A kinder, gentler version of the stuff and where you might want to start if you’re new to drinking/mixing with it. White chartreuse was also produced once upon a time (1860-1900), as was a special V.E.P. in the (1960s.)

The complexity of the recipe is part of what has kept it secret for centuries. When the Carthusians were expelled from the France (along with members of all other religious orders) the recipe was nearly lost. According to the lore, the monk entrusted with the original manuscript was arrested and jailed during this time. He managed to smuggle it out of prison to another Carthusian who was also on the lam, but the recipient could make no sense of the recipe. Befuddled by the complicated instructions and believing the Chartreuse Order shuttered forever, he sold the manuscript to a Grenoblois pharmacist named Monsieur Liotard, who also didn’t “get it”. 120291702He was unable to do anything with the recipe, and his heirs returned it to the Carthusian monks after his death in 1816.
Similarly, the French government was unable reproduce the stuff after they “nationalized” the chartreuse distillery in 1903 causing the monks to flee to Tarragona, Spain. The government’s, Chartreuse-branded product failed in the marketplace within a decade (see right.)

Who wouldn’t want to sip on a liqueur that’s…

1. Made by an order of contemplative monks in the French Alps?
2. Based on an ancient recipe for an Elixir of Long Life?
3. Such a highly guarded secret that only two monks are entrusted with the recipe, and never known to any one person at a time?
4. Made from 130 different herbs and botanicals, secretly processed and mixed?
5. Has its own color scheme named after it?
6. So deliciously complex that its behavior in cocktails can be a total surprise?

Mix up any one of these and you’ll know what we mean:

GYPSY
Adapted by Contessa from a recipe she originally sampled at Bourbon & Branch
2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz lime
3/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz St-Germain
Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CLOISTER
1.5 oz gin
.5 oz Yellow chartreuse
.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
.25 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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