Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greensleeves...

...was all my joy, Greensleeves was my delight...

Sorry; that's about as old a song as they come, dating as it does to the close of the 1500's. Yet despite its' age, the ballad is quite a good one - still sung in a few of the right places - unchanged from its' original lyrics & rhythm. This practice is in many ways similar to that of one of the oldest spirits - Green Chartreuse - still produced today more or less as it was in the eighteenth century when a (c. 1605) receipt for an "elixir of long life" was translated by the Carthusian monks of Le Grand Chartreuse monastary.

Much as with the aforementioned song, Chartreuse can be quite a rarity in the liquor cabinets of all but the most-seasoned cocktailians. Indeed, to the uninitiated Chartreuse can appear to be a little intimidating - a brilliant green in color, with an incredibly-complex flavor deriving from over 130 herbs, spices & flowers; to say nothing for its steep 55% ABV (and similarly-sized price tag). Don't let any of that scare you, though - the spirit is delicious - both on its own, and more importantly, in the many classic cocktails what call for it. In libations such as the Last Word or Bijou Cocktail, the use of Chartreuse typically makes for a beverage that well-exceeds the sum of its' parts. For those of you looking to delve further into classic cocktails of this sort, good starting points for researching recipes utilizing Chartreuse include Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book and A.S. Crockett's Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.

But, venerable classics aside, when my compatriots over at the Mixoloseum announced that a recent Thusday Drink Night was to be sponsored by the folks who produce & market Chartreuse, I was shall we say, delighted at the opportunity to work with an ingredient so dear to my heart. Indeed, many of the drinks (and there were a great many) postulated & sampled that evening were deemed a great success, yet rather amazingly, one of my own concoctions came out of the evening as the winner! And so, I would like to share with you; my joy, my delight...

Greensleeves
1½ oz. Plymouth Gin
¾ oz. Green Chartreuse
¼ oz. Carpano Antica Formula
½ oz. Orgeat syrup
1 dash: Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with plenty of ice & shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and enjoy both un-garnished & un-varnished.

Once you've sampled Chartreuse in a cocktail like this, one of the others developed a la minute & highlighted in the TDN wrap-up, or in one of the many classic libations which are (thankfully) re-appearing on bar menus all over - I promise you too will never again be without this lovely spirit...

Cheers!

2 comments:

Kaiser Penguin said...

Chris,

This was such a lovely drink; easily one of my favorites of the night. I am always surprised how well Chartreuse and orgeat go together.

Chris "Rookie" Stanley said...

Cheers & thanks!

Indeed, that combination, as well as some of the swizzles and other unforseen drink combos like Tequila + Apricot, that've come out of TDN have really been suprises (of a revelatory nature) to me...