Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today for the liquor portion of the week I will talk about Chartreuse which to this day is made by monks and the recipe remains a secret to this day on how to make it.

It was 1605 when a recipe was given to the Carthusian monks located in Voiron France near where Grenoble is now for the making of Chartreuse. By 1764 the monks perfected the recipe but left it pretty unknown to the rest of the world outside their monastery until that is 1848 when some army officers stayed for awhile and were offered this liqueur after dinner one night by the host. Greatly impressed word spread around so much so that the monks had to build a distillery just to keep up with the demand at Fourvoirie.

Then the carthusian monks were expelled from France then fled to Spain with the recipe. Settling in Tarragona , Spain they continued making Chartreuse until 1931 when the French government said , okay you can come back now and make the Chartreuse again where you were near Grenoble.

Nowadays , chartreuse is made at the two places in both Spain and France and contains up to 135 different ingredients with the base being brandy. It is very complicated to make and still known only by the monks who make it.

What we do know is the green chartreuse was the original recipe that uses chlorophyll for colouring which is the most potent at 55% alcohol by volume. The yellow chartreuse is the sweeter version coloured with saffron that is less in alcohol with only 43%.

Often served with ice it has a strong assertive flavour that when used in cocktails it requires very small amounts to exert it's character on the drink. Similar to vanilla flavoured Galliano in looks and texture , it has the flavour of anise noticeable on the palette as well as spice. Hyssop one of the known ingredients is a semi - woody plant prevalent in the Mediterranean area. So it must be pretty amazing to know all the ingredients that go into this fine liqueur. But unfortunately only 3 monks can know what all goes into Chartreuse at one time!

Some recipes include,

Chartreuse Cocktail

1oz Yellow Chartreuse
1oz Cognac
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth

Serve in a chilled cocktail glass straight up like a martini

Green Lizard Shooter

1oz 151 Proof Rum
1oz Green Chartreuse
Serve in shooter glass , light it up and down it. Whoossh!
Oh yea make sure you blow out the fire before downing.

Mack Attack

3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Black Sambuca
2-3 drops Tobasco
Another shooter and this time it will feel like a truck hit you!

There is a few recipes to try out if you want to feel happy fast. Remember it is potent so you need not drink much.


bulletholes said...

My introduction to The Chartruese came in the form of a very strange Gentleman that came to the Restaurant for dinner and bought the bottle.
He and I and two Waitresses emptied the bottle that night after hours, sitting at his table.
We drank it straight up in snifters....this guy was a real "purist" and it took almost three days for the taste to leave my mouth.
The headache only lasted 2 days.
One of the girls conceived triplets that night.

I know its the wrong poster, but the attitude is there...

Hey Wextra! i dig your info posts!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Bulletholes..He must have been a strange gentleman but at least you have tried it and will never forget. I wanted to do Chartreuse for you this week. Thanks for the great feedback. Hey Chef!!

Manuel said...

no no no no no no......scary repressed memories of chartreuse......worst hangover ever.....

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel...really , wow one of these days I will take a sip. You and bulletholes have endured a massive hangover from this stuff.