While it was the small, well-designed bottle and label that initially caught my attention, it was the ingredient list that led me to the purchase. It doesn’t get much simpler than aloe vera, cucumber, eau de vie, lemon peel, muskmelon, spearmint, sugar, and water.
Chareau is a California-made aloe liqueur. Its creator, Kurt Charron, named it after his great grandparents whose last names were Charron and Favreau.
The liqueur is almost colorless, except for a very slight green tint. Aloe is a fairly neutral flavor*, and it comes across more as a subtle vegetal note in the spirit. Hints of cucumber and spearmint are distinctly present, followed by the melon notes in the finish.
The liqueur itself is sweet enough to use it as a substitute for the standard sweet ingredient in many cocktails, and at 25% ABV it will provide the necessary flavor without over-diluting the cocktail. I don’t perceive it as being as sweet as a 1:1 simple syrup, but I can’t confirm this without a refractometer.
Chareau has a few suggested recipes which are all simple derivatives of classics, which is exactly how this spirit needs to be showcased. I think that most aged spirits would overpower and work against Chareau’s flavor profile, so I’d stick to mostly gin, vodka, and blanco tequilas when using it in recipes.
I chose to adhere to this rule with the featured recipe, and create a gin martini riff. I chose Distillery No. 209 gin, which is a personal favorite that has heavy cardamom notes. It comes off as equal amounts of juniper and cardamom, with a bit more viscosity than most gins. Along with the No. 209 gin, I used Dolin Dry Vermouth, Chareau, a few drops of rose water, and an expressed lemon peel. I think this makes for an incredible gin martini riff with some new and interesting flavor components. It might even be enough to convert that vodka martini drinker into a gin drinker.
*I say it has a neutral flavor, but there is also a distinct bitterness. How do I know this? I bought an aloe leaf at Whole Foods, sliced it, and took a bite. Not what I had in mind. When I think of aloe, I tend to think of the aloe pulp in certain Asian drinks. These tend to take on the flavor of the drink, but fresh aloe leaves are different.
- 2 ounces Distillery No. 209 gin
- ½ ounce Chareau Aloe Liqueur
- ½ ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 1 lemon lemon peel
- 3 drops rose water
- Combine gin, Chareau, and dry vermouth in mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled.
- Pour into coupe glass, express lemon peel over the surface and add 2-3 small drops of rose water.