Sorry to all my readers for the lack of posting.
This one is for Jim.
Today, I would like to talk briefly about Charteuse. Not the color, but rather the liqueur. You will normally see it on the back bar of most restaurants, it will be next to the Galliano, and it is one of those items that most bars buy a bottle of that never gets used in the first 4-5 years they are open.
However, with the onslaught of "traditional" cocktail menus and bars popping up, it has started to gain a bit of steam, and warrants mentioning.
Chartreuse is a wine based liqueur, produced in France, that uses a blend of 130 different herbs and flowers. It was originally developed by a monastic order in the mountains of France in the early 1600's as a medicinal way to prolong life. Through the centuries, the monks that produced it saw many trials, including getting kicked out of the country twice (they holed up in Spain when necessary), having the government abscond with all of their property, and having a mudslide destroy their facility. The recipe for the elixir has survived though, and is currently produced in the town of Voiron. The only two people that know the recipe are two monks that help with the production of the liquer.
There are a couple of different Chartreuses made- the yellow version (colored with saffron, ringing in at about 40% alcohol- the sweeter version), the Green version (colored with chlorophyll, 55% alcohol, and the one that the color was named after in the 1800's), and a higher end, oak aged version called VEP (comes in both green and yellow).
Having tried these, they are really interesting. They are definitely herbal, with licorice notes coming out. It actually reminds me quite a bit of Galliano or Absinthe. At a great restaurant called Upstairs on the Square in Cambridge, MA they used to make a martini called the Madame X, that had Lemon Vodka, fresh lemon juice, yellow charteuse, and champagne. It was delicious!
So, go get your French Monk vibe on, grab a bottle of Chartreuse, and enjoy