The Elixir of Long Life
In 1605, an old manuscript was given to the monks of the Carthusian Order. After careful study, the apothecarian wisdom held within this tome was distilled, quite literally, until the monks were able to create the formula for a long and healthy life: Chartreuse.
Today, the distillery in Voiron is still run by the Carthusian monks, and only three currently know the full recipe for Chartreuse. It combines over 130 different herbs from across the globe, each one possessing its own medicinal qualities. Because of the large amount of ingredients, Chartreuse is completely unique, and the flavor profile is complex. Everybody I know who has tried it tastes something different, from basil to mint, or even licorice.
The most common types of Chartreuse are green and yellow, with the yellow being slightly sweeter and more mellow than the green. There is also the green VEP or yellow VEP, which are aged longer than the standard green or yellow variants. The distillery also makes a few special blends, my personal favorite being the Chartreuse 1605; however, it is not easy to find most of these within the United States.
I always keep a bottle of the green at home to make some of my favorite cocktails, such as the Last Word, add it to some orange juice for a Chartreuse Soleil, or on a cold night to make a Chartreuse Chaud by adding green Chartreuse to hot chocolate. One of my favorite inventions with Chartreuse was made by the fine bartenders at Péché in Austin, dubbed the Gin and Monks.
Go ahead; grab a bottle at your local liquor store. Find out why this 400-year-old recipe is said to give long life to all those who drink it. Or, be safe like me and buy it by the case.
Gin and Monks
- 1 fl. oz. — gin
- 0.5 fl. oz. — lime juice
- 0.75 fl. oz. — green Chartreuse
- 0.75 fl. oz. — yellow Chartreuse
- Add ice and all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.