Archive for the ‘Green/Yellow Chartreuse’ Category

I remember the first time someone ordered a Last Word from me. I was working in Press Club at Brisbane at the time, and a guy I knew, who was a friend of the manager I was working under at the time, walked in and sat at the bar. He talked to my manager more than he did me, but it was fine, as he asked me to make him a drink.

He ordered a Last Word, and I sheepishly admitted that I didn’t know how to make it, though I probably came across as more of an arrogant moron for him asking for the ingredients of an old drink that I didn’t know about.

Nowadays, the Last Word is one of my favorite drinks, though for different reasons other than simply that I like drinking it. Sure it tastes great, and it’s a perfect example of an old and forgotten gin drink that has not only been part of the gin and cocktail renaissance, but proved that the process of digging up old recipes, no matter how unbalanced or obscure they may look, can sometimes yield a diamond in the rough .

My main reason for the fondness for the Last Word stems more from modern day bartenders who have successfully twisted the drink into contemporary classics.

Micky McIlroy’s ‘Thumps Up! (a Last Word variant with the addition of Aperol)’ and Phil Ward’s ‘Final Ward‘ are the main drinks that come to mind, though the resurrection and  success of the Last Word in contemporary drinking trends can single be single-handedly traced back to one man.

However, with news of Murray’s heart ailment, thus resulting in him not being able to carry out his profession, resonating throughout the bartending world, the response to MurrayAid has been astounding.

Murray Stenson has been bartending for almost 40 years, and has had profound impact on the drinks scene in Seattle, the city that he’s plied his trade in for most of his life, with the drink came to fruition during his time at the Zig-Zag cafe. Coupled with a lack of health insurance, this blog has been written to spread the word of Murrays situation and to bring your attention to MurrayAid. Events are being held throughout the world to try and raise the money needed for Murray, more of which can be found here.

At the American Bar, we made a pledge to donate our tips towards this fund. Upon reflection, it still doesn’t feel enough. Hopefully this blog can do a little more justice in terms of raising people’s awareness of the situation, and in turn help raise the money that is needed for Murray to get better and get back behind that bar.

Salud.

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With a pint of green Chartreuse,

Ain’t nothing seems right,

You buy a Sunday paper on a Saturday night.

Sometimes, when you get a bottle of wine, it can go either two ways; you can keep it in the bottle, unopened, and it will get better with time, increasing in value, with the eventuality that when it is opened, it is enjoyed thoroughly.

On the hand, it can cork; it can go off – pretty badly in some circumstances – with the ultimate problem of whether to open it or not becoming a moot point, simply because what lies within is not worth washing your feet in, ultimately becoming a huge anti-climax.

In a strange and peculiar way, online blogs can be the same. They can flourish and grow with time, or they can become boring, sometimes even stale.

Neither of these things have happened on this site, though if it were, it definitely wouldn’t lean towards the former metaphor of getting better with age.

As a new chapter has started within the life of this writer, it seems fit that the sight be modernized a little, even if just to freshen up a project that has stop-stared for two. Like a paint job on your first ever home, however, hopefully it won’t need to happen again – no matter what job or bar the writer works behind next – and that the short attention span that most bartenders suffer from can be kept at bay, at least in terms of content and ‘freshening’ up this particular site.

That said, we welcome you to our new home (the royal ‘we’, that is) at apintofgreenchartreuse, and hope that boredom/enjoyment you have reading these posts will be exaggerated further by the metaphorical lick of paint name change that this sight has received.

Cheers. 

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Brrrrrrap!

After receiving old friend Megs Miller into the bosom of the Edinburgh bartending scene, and the inevitable catch-ups and late night boozing sessions, it turns out that not only is it Halloween here in the UK, there’s less than two hours left of the day until midnight, and the 1st of November, thus rendering a Halloween and a drink-related post almost obsolete. But then again, posting a drink-related post as the seconds creep towards midnight doesn’t make up for the fact that by the time this piece is read, readers will either be hungover (if you’re in Australia), about to go out partying (UK), about to come home from ‘Trick or Treating (kids in the UK – who shouldn’t be reading this), or about to getting ready for a shift at work, if not at work already (UK/US).

Procrastinating and justifying aside, a post and a drink needs to be articulated, and articulated well. With the 2nd annual Chartreuse heat about to go ahead next month, the deadline for drink submissions is less than an hour away.

The inspiration behind the drink lies mainly with the Purgatory, a rye-based drink created in 2008 that uses both Green Chartreuse and Benedictine to smooth out the rye. Whilst being a tiny bit unusual – mainly because no bitters are used – the best thing about this devilish cocktail comes from the fact that the complexity and length is added to the drink  in the form of two French, herbal, monk-related liquors (Gary Regan talks about the drink here).

Purgatory (Adapted from a recipe by Ted Kilgore, Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood, 2008)

  • 50ml Rye whisky
  • 12.5ml Green Chartreuse
  • 12.5ml Benedictine

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir lovingly (or hatefully) with ice, assuring proper dilution(!). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

With this in mind, and basing a drink around the rule of using at least 25ml of Green Chartreuse, a drink was devised that followed suit of the original Purgatory, but with an obvious twist; living in Scotland and being a fan of scotch, a smokey single malt came into play as opposed to rye. Out with the Benedictine and in came Bitter Truthe Elixir, a distant relative of the Italian Amaro, with two drops of Orange Blossom water for some light floral notes. The ingredients were toned down to equal measures, more so to support each other on equal terms as opposed to fight for supremacy based on sheer volume.

The name is taken directly from the film of the same name, with a direct reference of the literal and spiritual journey the monks have made throughout the last nine centuries, a story and history that includes governmental persecution and underestimation, misunderstandings and exile, and distillery destruction and forgery.

And so with that, ladies and gentleman, here we go…

Road to Perdition

  • 30ml Cask-rested Green Charetreuse
  • 30ml Islay Single Malt Scotch
  • 30ml Bitter Truth Elixir
  • 2 drops of Orange Blossom/Flower water

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass in a dark and morose manner. Add ice, stir devilishly and strain the dark, smoked, herbaceous liquid into a chillingly cold glass with one drop of orange water in the base of the glass. Add the second of drop onto the surface of the drink, and torture out the oils of a lemon peel be squeezing and twisting without mercy. Serve to the poor soul in front of you.

NB – Go for Lagavulin or Caol Ila. Something with both smoke and body is important here, mainly to stand up to boldness of the other flavours. And don’t be afraid to stir for a while if you have the right ice; the texture of this drink could be a problem due to under dilution. As for the cask-aged Green Chartreuse, this is the by-product of a project that is looking to reproduce the Purgatory into a single liquid, using casks that have been seasons with Green Chartreuse and Benedictine. More information of this will follow in the coming months…

Tom Hanks having a post-Green Chartreuse night-before breakfast.

Happy Halloween folks.

PS – For other reasons on why I haven’t posted on here in a while, go here and here to read some articles I’ve wrote for old friend (though not just in terms of age – sorry) Shay Leighton.

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Chartreuse is here.

In between brainstorming what I would like to blog about over these next few months, procrastinating what I’ll actually blog about over these next few months, on top of not actually writing or researching anything, a cheeky little Chartreuse competition came about the other week, coupled with an interesting little twist…

Cutting straight to the basics, Chartreuse is a French based liqueur made by a couple of monks in Voiron. The green stuff is 55%, massively herbaceous, natural in colour and has a reputed 130 natural herb and plant flavourings. The other stuff – yellow Chartreuse – is a little lighter and a little sweater at 40%.  As well as the aforementioned, the monks also produce an extra-aged chartreuse – Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé, or V.E.P Chartreuse for short – and a herbal elixir, with the latter being used to soak a sugar cube before ingestion, helping to settle the stomach . Chartreuse has also made several appearances in popular culture – Tom Waits’ song ‘Till The Money Runs Out’ being a personal favourite. As a cocktail ingredient, the green and yellow varieties are popular components in both classic cocktails and more contemporary and modern day libations.

Jamie Mac, one of the bartenders at The Raconteur in Edinburgh’s well-to-do area of Stockbridge, and where the competition was held, presided over the final judgement along with the UK Chartreuse ambassador Matthew Dakers. The main judges, on the other hand, were also those who took part. The competition, which took a conscious nod towards ‘Come Dine With Me’, made sure that all those who competed were also responsible for judging their fellow competitors.

And the result? A respectful and well-executed competition, which gave bartenders an insight into the world of judgment and marking criterias with no petulant or predictable marking efforts that would favour the marker – or his fellow friend or colleague – in the quest for victory

The event threw up some interesting drinks, some of which included Iron Bru syrup, tonic reductions, tequila, homemade falernum and came in the form of blazers, fizzes, flips, and…er… general straight up drinks.

With other heats in Leeds, London and Brighton, Sam Watson from the Bon Vivant and some northern-accented, French-clad dude – who also happened to relatively tattooed – will be representing Edinburgh at the finals in London in February.

Some daft heavily tattooed French dude.

Hors d’oeuvre of the day (Tom Walker, Bramble, Edinburgh)

  • 35ml Green Chartreuse
  • 15ml Islay Scotch
  • 7.5ml Kummel
  • 7.5ml DOM Bénédictine
  • 15ml Lime Juice
  • 10ml Lemon Juice
  • Dash of egg white
  • Dash of tonic water
  • Dash of absinthe

Add all ingredients apart from the tonic water and absinthe to a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice, shake hard and double strain into an absinthe rinsed glass. Top up with tonic water and serve.

Herbacious, smokey, sour, dry, with hints of sweet earth and bitterness. Taking a nod towards the Gin Fizz, and a bigger nod towards the Morning Glory Fizz, both of which fall into that anti-fogmatizer/gloomlifter/hangover cure category, the drink is surprisingly light and refreshing. Saying that, despite wanting to stay away from scotch and gin to create something a little more original, I gave in and added a little of Laphroaig Quarter Cask to give another edge to the drink.

Sam Watson doing his 'thang'

Voila (Sam Watson, Bon Vivant, Edinburgh)

  • 25ml Green Chartreuse
  • 25ml lime
  • 25ml Courvoisier Exclusif
  • 20ml Grand Marnier
  • 12.5 ml Yellow Chartreuse
  • Dash of egg white
  • Orange Bitters

Add all ingredients – apart from the bitters – to a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice, shake vigorously and double strain into a coupette. Garnish with a basil leaf, and spray the outside of the glass with orange bitters. Serve

Complex and long, just like Sam Watson himself. Cognac and Chartreuse glide over the pallet with ease, with orange in the foreground and the lime adding a slightly less acidic mouth feel then first anticipated.

To quote maker Saw Watson, the drink is dedicated to all the French girls he’ll probably never hook up with. Voila.

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By the time this blog has been posted and read, most of the news within this will already be a little old, with most of the fun already been had. The heavily tattooed bartender would like to apologise for his late entry – this technically should have been done about a week ago – but as you’ll read on, you’ll understand the stress and lack of time that has kept said bartender from being able to post earlier.

Tuesday night just gone (alright, a couple of days ago for sure) was a night of epic proportions; not only did I scrap my way to the final of a poker game with the irrepressible bitter-master Adam Elmigrab, but Edinburgh’s most decorated bar Bramble celebrated their fourth birthday.

After recently being voted the 25th best bar in the world by Drinks International (last year they were seventh!), the guys celebrated by getting some DJ’s in on the act, making a cracking punch and smashing out some awesome drinks.

But, I hear you ask, why does this matter?

Well, for some mental reason, owners Jason Scott and Mike Aikman have decided to offer me some form of employment at their world-famous bar, and have given me the most humbling opportunity of joining their (now) four-person bar team.

The bar, which is located on the corner of Queen Street and Hannover Street, has not only won numerous awards for their drinks menu and backbar – which focuses primarily on whisky and gin – but have also seem some pretty reputable drink masters tend the bar over the last few years, including the recently-departed Ryan Chetiyawardana of 69 Colebrooke Row, UK Havanna Club brand ambassador Miemi Sanchez and current Bacardi Global Ambassador David Cordoba

It goes without saying that the opportunity the guys have offered me is not only something I couldn’t turn down, but a great chance for me to up my game at one of the most decorated bars in the UK. Flattering, humbling, awesome are just a few adjectives that come to mind in terms of some form of adjectives.

To mark the celebration of the heavily tattooed bartender moving up in the world, I’ve included two recipes from the menu for you to feast your eyes (and taste buds) on.

Bramble

  • 50ml Gin
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 12.5ml sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 12.5 ml Crème de Mure

Build all ingredients apart from the Crème de Mure in a sling glass. ‘Lace’ Crème de Mure on top of the drink. Add a blackberry to garnish and serve.

A pretty straight forward drink in terms of both its construction and flavour, the Bramble has survived as a contemporary classic mainly due to its pleasing taste and accessibility in terms of ingredients.

Originally a twist on a gin fix, an old drink from the 19th century that used raspberry syrup and Hollands gin, the drink was devised by Richard ‘Dick’ Bradsell at Fred’s Bar in London in 1983. Cheers!

Cambletown Cocktail

  • 40ml Springbank whiskey
  • 20ml Cherry Heering
  • 10ml Green Chartreuse

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until the right dilution has been achieved. Strain into a cocktail glass and express the oils of a lemon peel over the drink and discard. Serve.

For someone who has been enjoying scotch-based cocktails more and more over the past six months (even to the point where rye and bourbon have taken a back seat), the Cambletown Cocktail may well be one the most well constructed whisky cocktails I have come across in modern day bartending.

Despite consisting of only three ingredients, it ticks all the boxes of what a cocktail should be. Not only is the drink both complex and powerful, the flavours all vie for your attention on the pallet without one overpowering the other. The cherry heering and green chartreuse, despite both being sweet and herbaceous in their own separate ways, combine in an ethereal way to lift the whisky into another dimension. Definitely a drink that is greater than the sum of its parts, and a fabulous winter drink to boot (though probably not one to give to a first time cocktail drinker…).

With this, the heavily tattooed bartender is going to love you and leave you. By the time his next entry hits the net – I’m aiming for within the fortnight here folks – I’ll have moved north of the boarder and settled into my new abode. And to celebrate this, I’m more than likely going to make a drink for the occasion, and continue to switch between third and person narrative as I continue my explorations into winter-based libations.

I would once again like to thank Jason and Mike for their hospitality and offer of employment, and look forward to working with fellow drink masters Pauli, Terri and Niall.

For those of you interested in finding out more about this cool little bar I’ll be tending to, check the links here

See you at the bar, folks…

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There’s nothing like a good excuse when it comes to talking (or blogging) about drinks and cocktails, and Halloween is no exception.

For Halloween themed drinks, we bartenders can get pretty creative; dark spirits are always a winner, especially as we head into November, mainly because of the cold winter months that engulf the North of England. Similarly, flavours like orange and cinnamon, for example, are great flavours that work well with most dark spirits, and lend a great colour for those drinks that you want to keep gloomy and creepy looking.

Back to original libations, however, and there are more drinks than you think that fall into the Halloween realm, even if we have to use out imaginations…

Gloom Lifter

  • 60ml Irish whisky
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 20ml sugar syrup (adjust according to taste/sugar-to-water ratio)
  • 10 ml egg white
  • 1 bar spoon of brandy (optional)
  • 1 dash of grenadine (optional)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, and express the oils of an orange peel over the surface of the drink. Discard peel and serve.

Pretty much a whiskey sour served straight up, the drink was part of the never ending quest for a hangover cure – much like the Corpse Reviver mentioned below – before breaking away and becoming a drink of its own accord in 1940s New York.

The brandy and grenadine are listed in numerous recipes for this drink, but I don’t think they are needed, as the drink has a brilliant complexity and balance already.

As for the egg white, I always try to use this drink as a starting point for customers who are pessimistic about egg in their drinks. If anything, it’s the egg white that makes the drink.

Gloom Chaser

  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 20ml Grand Marnier
  • 20ml orange curacao
  • 12.5 ml grenadine syrup

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

This drink, whilst making its debut in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book, was first brought to my attention by good friend Rory Lim at the end of last year, when I was banging on about how great the Gloom Lifter was.

The Gloom Chaser, as you would imagine, is a tarter drink then its aforementioned cousin, especially with the orange-dominant flavors. Not a bad summer refresher (or Halloween refresher, for that matter).

As for an original creation, the following drink uses an old style of drink-mixing with a new gin released by the Berry Brothers Company, as well as some new cardamom bitters from Bob’s Bitters based in London.

Corpse Reviver 3.3

  • 45ml Gin No.3
  • 15ml Green Chartreuse
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml Lillet Blanc
  • 10ml egg white
  • 2 drops of Bob’s Cardamom Bitters

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard and double strain into a cocktail glass. Express the oils of an orange peel over the surface of a drink, rim the glass, and discard. Drop two drops of cardamom bitters onto the surface of the drink. Serve.

Photography by Dee Chaneva

According to David Wonderich’s Imbibe, the Corpse Reviver first came to fruition in 1862, and was part of the never-ending search for the hung over fraternity that were after a little morning refreshment. William Grimes’ Straigh up or on the Rocks, however, is the book that provides a recipe, a pousse café-style drink that consists of yellow chartreuse, maraschino and creme de Noyaux.

Although the drink leans more towards to sour category, especially with the addition of egg white, the drink falls somewhere between the category of summer and autumn drinks, the latter mainly for it’s warming and herbal properties.

Originally entered in the Gin No.3 & Kings Ginger competition held by Inspirits at the end of September, the drink leads with the herbaceous chartreuse and the spicy botanicals of the gin before the Lillet wades in. A sourness persists throughout, accentuated by the egg white, with bitterness from the Lillet and cardamom bitters. This one is for those who like the taste of booze in their cocktail!

At 46% abv, Gin No.3 packs one hell of a punch in any drink where it’s used as a base spirit. Coupled with Green Chartreuse, which comes in at 55% abv, and it’s safe to say that this drink, like the classic Corpse Reviver No.2, would probably unrevive the corpse after a few too many…

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