Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Carthusian Cocktail Enthusiasm

(Carthusian Monks, Marseille, France, 1930)

This is what happens when you set out to do one thing and get sidetracked by a bar book. I started to look up the true definition of a “mist”, which turns out to be any shot of straight liquor poured over crushed ice sometimes garnished with a lemon peel. It also turns out that some mists are made with more than one kind of liquor, especially if the booze isn’t that flavourful to begin with. Vodka should take a bit of… you guessed it… vermouth, for example. Anyway, the next page after mists gave a listing of cocktails that defy categorization. There on the second page, page 79 of the “Playboy Bartender’s Guide”, is the recipe for a Carthusian Cooler.

1 oz. yellow Chartreuse
1 oz. Bourbon
Iced Club soda

Put three large ice cubes into a 14 oz. glass, add Chartreuse and Bourbon. Top up with club soda. Stir.

Back during those foggy school days, a man could get gang stomped for putting anything at all into his bourbon except more bourbon. There were exceptions. I was forgiven the ice cubes in the tall glass of Wild Turkey 101 — the ” Hunter S. Thompson Variation” we called it. But the idea of adding Coca Cola or Ginger Ale outside of a stadium just didn’t seem cricket. I’m older now and take my drinks any way I please, so the idea of a cocktail made with bourbon, using some Chartreuse that needed to be drunk up as it was low in the bottle and oxidizing, seemed pleasing indeed.

The Chartreuse I had on hand was green, not yellow. The Bourbon is Wild Turkey 101. I was fresh out of Club soda (oh for those heady days of making my own!), and lemons (used in the Chartreuse Cooler detailed immediately below the Carthusian Cooler recipe.) What to do?

Herewith, I launch upon an unsuspecting world the Thompson variation if you will:

The Easy and Elegant Life Carthusian Cocktail.

Break off a big hunk of ice and drop it into a double old-fashioned glass. Add:

1 shot glass of Wild Turkey 101
1 shot glass of Green Chartreuse
1 twist of Clementine peel.

You may top with a splash of cold water. I didn’t until the second drink. Do not have the second drink if you plan to do anything productive, like make dinner, immediately following the blue hour. While Yellow Chartreuse clocks in at 40% (80 proof), the Green version stands at 55% (110 proof). Who knew?

3 thoughts on “Carthusian Cocktail Enthusiasm

  1. “I’m older now and take my drinks any way I please,” best line in the post! Makes me wonder why society is so obsessed with youth.

  2. Oh E-

    The photograph is marvelous. One almost expects Frankenstein to make an appearance amidst the alchemy in devising the perfect elixir. There is something about God, religious orders and spirits that is so intrinsically woven into the history of the manufacturing and consumption of alcohol, you can’t but wonder if the deities considered it the natural state – as in close to heavenly.

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