It’s a cocktail, not a final pronouncement.
John Deragon, mixologist extraordinaire, at PDT introduced me to this cocktail, and it’s ethereal, you can’t quite put your finger on its complex flavors, its like gazing at a young girl who has knowing eyes.
Simple enough recipe: equal parts gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino and fresh lime juice. Shake hard. Rest. Shake hard again and serve.
I’ve resisted buying Chartreuse because a) its expensive and I’m not even talking about the superior quality VEP b) my cabinet has no more room c) what else can you do with it? But, it was on sale, so what the heck.
Turns out Chartreuse is made by the Carthusian monks; the same ones that are featured in the elegant film “Into Great Silence”. The original formula for this ‘long life elixir’ was given to the French monks in 1605 and allegedly contains 130 herbs, flowers and secret ingredients. Eventually the recipe makes its way to the Grande Chartreuse monastery in Voirion, France where it takes a little over 100 years to tweak the recipe into something palatable. The monks get into trouble and are kicked out of France in 1793. They are allowed to return, and in 1838 they develop a yellow, sweeter version of the original Green Chartreuse. In 1903 the French government seizes the distillery and kicks the monks out and into Spain. Local townspeople from Voiron buy up shares of the distillery and send the shares to the exiled monks so they can come back into France. It seems the monks are living illegaly in France when in 1935 a mudslide destroys the distillery. The French government sends an army corps of engineers in to restore the distillery and lifts the ban on the monks who are still happily involved in making Chartreuse.
What a story! Why do the French keep kicking out the Carthusians? They seem to be pretty quiet, as in very, very quiet, so why the expulsions? Mystery and history in a bottle, a perfect combination to contemplate while sipping this long life elixir.