5 Green Chartreuse Cocktails for the True Enthusiast

Blushing Monk cocktail garnished with mint sprig
Green Chartreuse is the kryptonite of many cocktail enthusiasts – it’s certainly mine. If you’re not familiar with Chartreuse, here is the crash course. It’s a French herbal liqueur that’s made by Carthusian monks based on a recipe they purportedly received in 1605. The two types that you’ll see most often are yellow (40% ABV) and green (55% ABV), but there are other iterations that include aged and higher ABV bottlings. Yellow is the more mild version, while green is the bolder. 

 
Green Chartreuse contains 130 herbs and plants that are macerated and steeped, giving Chartreuse its distinct color. In fact, it’s the only spirit to have a color named after it. The most popular Green Chartreuse cocktail is likely the Last Word, but there are others such as the Bijou and the Bywater. In this post I’ll share other recipes with you that you likely have never come across.
 
In addition to these incredible cocktails, there is a tradition among Chartreuse enthusiasts called “Passing the Torch”. This ritual is generally done as a way to conclude a night of good times with good company, but I question the wisdom in saving it for the end of the night. To “pass the torch”, first pour everyone in the group a shot of Green Chartreuse. 
 

Word of warning, this requires calm and focus – perform the ritual at your own risk.

 
Every needs to stand in a circle and dip the tip (only the tip) of their finger into their glass of Green Chartreuse. (Please read and explain the following steps slowly; it’s simple as long as no one panics.) The person starting the ritual pulls their Chartreuse-soaked finger out of the glass and lights it on fire. At this point, the person to their right should already have their Chartreuse-soaked finger ready to receive the passed “torch”. Once you’ve lit the finger of the person to your right, you first blow out your finger, then you take your shot of Chartreuse. Repeat this process until one full lap around the circle is made. Congratulations, you’ve passed the torch.
 
What I’ve learned from attempting this multiple times is that your group will rarely get it right on the first try, and that Chartreuse is expensive. Also, you’re using fire, so please don’t go to your local cocktail bar and ask them to oblige. This is one of those “don’t try this at home” things, but it’s also a “don’t catch your favorite cocktail bar on fire” thing too. 
 
Since you shouldn’t mix cocktails with lighting yourself on fire, here are five cocktails that showcase Green Chartreuse. The primary two that I’d like to feature are recent discoveries for me – the Blushing Monk and the Irma La. The other three are much more standard. I’d love to see what you’re mixing up with Green Chartreuse posted to Instagram. Use the hashtag #HumbleGarnish or tag me directly, @thehumblegarnish
 

Cheers. 💚

The Blushing Monk

(pictured at beginning of article)

Blushing Monk
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce Green Chartreuse
  • ½ ounce raspberry syrup
  • ¼ Cynar
  • 2 mint sprigs (1 reserved for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Muddle 1 mint sprig in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice.
  3. Double-strain into cocktail glass and garnish with remaining mint sprig.

Irma La
Irma La cocktail on a table garnished wiht a cucumber slice

 

 

 

Irma La
 
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ ounce gin
  • ½ ounce Green Chartreuse
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce grapefruit juice
  • ¾ teaspoon simple syrup
  • 4 cucumber slices (1 reserved for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Muddle 3 cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice.
  3. Double-strain into cocktail glass and garnish with remaining cucumber slice.

Last Word

Last Word
 
Recipe Type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ¾ ounce gin
  • ¾ ounce Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and double-strain into cocktail glass.

Bijou

Bijou
 
Fun fact, "bijou" is French for "jewel". Gin is diamond, Green Chartreuse is emerald, and sweet vermouth is ruby.
Recipe Type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce gin
  • ¾ ounce Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in mixing glass and stir with ice.
  2. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel and a cherry.

Bywater

Bywater
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1¾ ounce añejo rum
  • ¾ ounce Green Chartreuse
  • ½ ounce Averna
  • ¼ ounce falernum
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in mixing glass and stir with ice.
  2. Strain into cocktail glass.


Additional Resources:
Chartreuse – Official Site
Wikipedia – Chartreuse
Burritt Room, San Fransisco
Drink, Boston

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