“Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a color after it.” (From bartender Warren in the movie “Death Proof”)
Out of all the cocktail liqueurs I’ve ever tasted – and I have tasted many – Green Chartreuse has been the sexiest and most tantalizing. First created centuries ago by monks, it eventually found its way into classic cocktails and literature. The mysterious Jay Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”), whose parties were the stuff of legends, shared a bottle when lady love Daisy visited his mansion-size man cave. More importantly, it’s the main ingredient in my favorite cocktail – The Last Word. I like to hold a few drops in my mouth, slowly exhale, and feel the rush of 130+ herbs and plants distilled into a heady liquid made from a recipe known only to the Carthusian order of monks. I wonder if they knew how much joy their “Elixir of Life” has given the world, helping to enrich it with bacchanalian delights that they denied themselves.
I held the martini glass up to the candlelight. So lovely. Its otherworldly color, indescribable. Its flavor, complex. With each sip, the world became slowly veiled by a comforting haze. Every bliss elevated, every trouble diminished. Green Chartreuse’s 110 proof guarantees no less than a robust experience.
I thought about the monks that have made this intriguing liqueur for over 400 years, initially as a medicine, to fund their call to prayer and meditation. Monks with structured, disciplined lives devoted to holiness and sacrifice, creating a potion flavored with mystery and wanton decadence. I sometimes imagined centuries of deeply buried desires somehow flowed into this arcane mixture.
Sexy tastes like forbidden pleasures.
“Chartreuse is made only by Carthusian Monks of La Grande Chartreuse near Grenuble, France. Chartreuse today is still made from 130 alpine herbs according to an ancient 1605 formula. The secret method of preparation is shared by three Carthusian brothers and is protected by vows of silence.”
The Last Word
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz good gin (Aviation, Tann’s, etc.)
½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice (more if you prefer it less sweet)
Shake up in a cocktail shaker with some ice, serve neat in a Martini glass.