Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heart of the Chartreuse Beast

At a stream somewhere in the Sierra Madre, a large animal laps the water. It makes low, growling, purring sounds that travel through the forest and stop all other creatures in their tracks. It licks its whiskers and speaks a little French.

This latest drink in my current exploration of Mexican spirits is, in outline, a Chartreuse Swizzle transformed by mezcal. (The incomparable Tiare has fun with this too in her Del Maguey Vida review.) For a fan of smoky single malts like me, mezcal is a very exciting ingredient to work with. Like scotch, it has not just smoke but intensity and mystique. And it’s a great pairing for the sweet herbal complexity of Chartreuse.

I based this swizzle on yellow Chartreuse, which tends to inspire me more often than green. I dunno—maybe it’s that I never know when the green plus a lime, delicious though that can be, is going to give me heartburn. Or maybe it’s that I just love the color of the yellow one so much. Yellow Chartreuse is particularly good with pear, and I busted out the juicer again for this one just cuz I could. It’s worth doing a whole bunch of pears at once and storing the juice in the refrigerator.

Heart of the Chartreuse Beast
  • 1 1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz cognac
  • 2 oz pear juice (about 1 small-medium pear)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Black pepper, for garnish
  • Mint, for garnish
Swizzle with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a large glass. Garnish with mint and coarse cracked pepper.

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