This time I thought I would do something interesting. Chartreuese fits that bill perfectly. If I have to drink, I usually prefer something hard or sitting on a patio slowly sipping St. Bernardus; but Chartreuse got me back into the swing of enjoying a nice glass of wine with my meals. Not only that but it definitely is a nice alternative to beer and hard liquor if you are trying to watch your calorie/carb intake.
|The monks weren't messing around.|
Chartreuse is a liquer that was made by monks back in France in the early 17th century. Named for the monastery where they were housed, it boasts that their recipe is aided by the help over over 100 herbal extracts to give it a truly dignified and flavorful taste. Some sources claim that it is also one of the few wines that truly improve with age although mine is from 2009 so I can't say if this is true or not. I should probably pick up another bottle and report back here in 15 years.
This wine also comes in two flavors, green and yellow. Before we begin, my suggestion for your very first time trying this drink is over ice in a normal glass served VERY cold.
Alcohol type: Fine Spirit
Manufacturer: Carthusian Monks
Country of Origin: Grenoble area, France
Price Range: $60-100 (750ml/Fifth)
ABV: 40% (yellow) 55% (green)
Proof: 80 (yellow) or 110 (green)
Served in: Any glass
Packaging: This is one you could put on your shelf with pride. Although I don't recommend that as this drink is definitely much better when served very chilled. Whether you go with the green or yellow, it comes in a nice bottle that actually feels like it has some "weight" to it. I notice that once you start spending more than $50 on average for a bottle of spirits the manufacturers start to put a little bit of effort into it.
Eye-Candy: Its thick in the glass but definitely has a nice look to it. Since the green version is actually made and extracted from the plants chlorophyll it definitely has a distinct look to it. The yellow while not as thick still makes it look like another fluid that produces naturally in our bodies. Don't let that disturb you though as I guarantee your mouth won't be thinking the same.
|Some even used it as medicine back in the day.|
Take-A-Whiff: Cinnamon, lime, coriander, ginger, grass, and general herbal and spicy notes are what hit your nose when you inhale this piece of work. If the first four listed there aren't enough for you there are still over 100 other herbal spices and extracts permeating from this beast.
Tongue-Spasms: The green has a very distinct liquerur flavor but has a bit of a spicy kick afterwards. The yellow is more of a mild taste. I personally prefer the green but try out both at least once and see what works for you. Or if you prefer pick up both as they each offer a different experience. For a nice after dinner glass go with the green, if you want one during your meal, take the yellow. In the end though, only you can decide what works best for your tastebuds.
Smooth-Ride: Don't let the 55% ABV tag fool you on the green version. While some may think it hits hard, this is most definitely not true. Now that is to say it has a little bit of kick to it once it starts sliding down the esophagus but nothing that is going to make you squirm or reach for the nearest glass of water or a lemon-chaser. In fact, of the friends that I have had the pleasure of tasting this drink with, we wanted another three servings of it before we had enough.
|The yellow version. For those of a modest nature.|
Irish Wonda: Since you can really serve this drink in any glass there are a few ways of going about it. My favorite way to drink it is in a martini glass over crushed ice and then to sip it through a stirrer. For a good time, throw a shot of it into your hot cocoa. One of my colleagues enjoyed it with a shot of it in his glass of OJ. I have not tried that version but thought I would list it here. You can also use it in cooking. Cut up some tomatoes and throw them in a cooking pan along with some beans of your choice and chicken breasts or strips. Then pour a good base of it in there, stir, add your further garnisheeing and bake. Delicious!
The biggest con to this drink is its price points fluctuate wildly in your area and the green version always costs more due to being more popular. The second issue is that out of ten people you give this drink too, I would say half of them will not enjoy it. It isn't for everyone, but you definitely need to try it at least once.
As always, have fun, drink merrily, and have a designated driver. Raise your glass D/FW, this one is on me.