I received a wonderful new cocktail book as a birthday present over the weekend called Speakeasy, by Jason Kosmos and Dushan Zaric. They opened Employees Only in 2004, a Prohibition-style bar in the West Village in New York City. The book focuses on classic cocktails that have been reimagined, truly one of my favorite subjects. While looking for a cocktail that I’d be able to feature for today’s post, I came across the Yellow Jacket which had the interesting combination of Reposado tequila, St. Germain, and Yellow Chartreuse that intrigued me very much. According to Kosmos and Zaric, they’d been looking to develop a cocktail with the tequila and the St. Germain, but needed a third ingredient to tie the drink together. One night a group of “obnoxious cocktail geeks” came into the bar and ordered The Last Word cocktail. After finishing that, they were looking to try something else that had Chartreuse in it and that became the lightbulb moment for Kosmos and Zaric. They now knew what the final ingredient would be to complete the Yellow Jacket. They compared the drink’s style to that of a Widow’s Kiss, where sweet herbal components play against a high alcohol base. The bitters both add to the complexity of this cocktail and help to bring it into balance.
The taste of this cocktail is truly an experience. The tequila creates an earthy base, while the Chartreuse brings in a strong herbal component that plays against the floral notes of the St. Germain. All 3 ingredients have assertive personalities, yet none of them overwhelm the others. The flavor of the bitters comes in at the end of the drink, where I was left with a lingering bit of orange on the finish.
Add the ingredients to a mixing class with ice and stir until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon strip curled into a twist. Enjoy!