Cocktail I made last night: The Alaska

CHARTREUSE IS A MYSTERIOUS LIQUOR, AND it doesn't agree with some people. It was originally created by the Chartreuse Order of cloistered monks (aka The Carthusians). They'd already been around for 500 years when they got a present from the marshall of artillery for King Henry IV-- a manuscript describing an herbal liquer touted as "An Elixir of Long Life." You've gotta kind of give it up to any alcohol that's called an elixir. Of course, it took them over a hundred years to figure it out and so, in 1737, Chartreuse was born, an herbal liqueur whose secret recipes is known only to two monks and which consists of some 130 herbs. Today, there are two kinds: green (110 proof) and yellow (90 proof). The yellow is also a bit sweeter.

I've tried it in a couple different cocktails, one of which tasted a little bit like licking a tennis ball. It's a testy liquor with a distinct taste and a weird buzz, so you've got to be careful with it. Here's the best cocktail I've found so far to make use of it:


4 pts gin (Bombay Sapphire is a good choice)
1 pt green Chartreuse
3 dashes of orange bitters

Combine in shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass with a couple maraschino cherries. Don't know how to chill a cocktail glass? It's easy: put a bunch of ice in it and fill it with water before you start making the drink. Before you pour, dump out the ice and water. I'd also maybe wipe out the glass so you don't water down the drink.

This drink's kind of a bastard. Just know what you're getting into. Before my brother sprang Chartreuse on us, he explained that it amplifies everything else you drink after it, and you know what? I think it amplifies anything you drink with it, so that gin will go straight to your head. I wouldn't, for example, follow this up with a Brandy Alexander, which is what I did. Let's just say the couch and I were best friends for the rest of the night. (McPHERSON)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been making a similar drink since I was inspired by my trip to New Orleans in 1997...


~ 2.0 London dry gin of choice
~ 0.5 Chartreuse
~ Dash of Angostura bitters
Shake. Strain. Garnish with a Cayenne-stuffed olive.

(To make cayenne-olives, simply remove the pimiento from a stuffed queen and shove an entire fresh cayenne in the hole, cap removed. Allow to marinate in olive brine for a few weeks before using. And as if Bourbon Street wasn't saucy enough, you can also use the brine to make it "dirty". If you can't make your own cayenne olives, then remove the pimiento and fill the hole with Sriracha hot sauce.)

The beauty of this drink is that not only is it surprisingly yummy, but it slowly gets hotter the farther down you drink... producing an intersting adrenaline rush. =)

~Sc'Eric (State College, PA)