Green Chartreuse: Into the Deep, Dark woods…
While Yellow Chartreuse is sunshine and warmth, Green Chartreuse takes you somewhere deep into the woods and inundates you with green botanicals. It almost tastes mentholated, but smooth, with its more bracing herbs toned down a bit by the barrel aging. It has a natural affinity for gin and tequila, it is one of the famous ingredients in the classic cocktail The Last Word, and it’s a favorite of Queen Elizabeth in a Champagne and Chartreuse cocktail she loves to drink. It’s higher in alcohol that its yellow counterpart, so keep in mind that it’ll pack more of a punch. It can be enjoyed as an after dinner drink on its own; just remember to serve it very cold.
For today’s drink I wanted to feature a classic cocktail that I’d never tried before called the Bijou made with Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and orange bitters in addition to Green Chartreuse. When I looked into the history of the cocktail, I learned that it dates back to the late 1800s and that the original recipe called for equal parts of the 3 spirits. It was once as popular as the Martini and the Manhatten, but then it fell into obscurity after Prohibition. The legendary bartender and author, Dale DeGroff, loved to put a modern spin on classic cocktails. He breathed life back into the Bijou by changing the drink’s proportions and putting it on the menu of his Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in NYC. I was all set to make the Bijou for today’s post, but then a funny thing happened. Instead of grabbing the bottle of Carpano Antica ( a sweet red vermouth), I accidentally reached for the Dolin Blanc (a sweet white vermouth) instead. I went ahead and made the drink without thinking and then realized that its color was off. I tasted it anyway and fell completely in love! The herbs and flowers in the Dolin worked perfectly with the botanicals in the Chartreuse, while the gin provided the backbone for the drink, keeping it from becoming too cloyingly sweet. It was unintentional, but fantastic, and so I named it Bijou Blanc.
1½ oz gin (preferably Plymouth)
½ oz Dolin Blanc
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash, orange bitters (I used Fee Brothers)
Cherry or olive for garnish
Add all the ingredients, except the lemon peel and garnish, to a mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to express the oils and discard. Garnish with the cherry or olive.