The liqueur Chartreuse is famous for its flavor, its history, and its color: In fact the color was named after this liqueur.
Chartreuse is made by Carthusian monks near Grenoble, France from a secret recipe that’s been around since 1605. It is herbaceous and minty, with notes of basil and allspice among its rumored 130 ingredients.
It comes in a few variations: Green Chartreuse (the most famous), Yellow Chartreuse (a lower-alcohol, higher-sugar version), and VEP versions that are aged an extra long time.
Surprisingly, this complex liqueur pairs marvelously well with pineapple juice in cocktails. The first drink I can recall seeing with this combination is the Chartreuse Swizzle, created by Marcovaldo Dionysos in 2003 for a cocktail competition.
He said of the cocktail competition, ” I couldn’t seem to come up with anything. Almost as a joke, I decided to go in a tropical direction,” using falernum (a syrup made with lime, clove, and ginger) and pineapple juice.
The cocktail won the competition, but it really started to achieve more fame when Dionysos put it on the menu at Clock Bar in 2008, a Michael Mina hotel bar in San Francisco. He says, “It was one of the most popular drinks on the menu, and was written about several times. And so it started to spread…”
Now I see the combination of Chartreuse in pineapple fairly regularly. We can probably thank Marcovaldo for that.
By Marcovaldo Dionysos
1.25 fl. oz. Green Chartreuse
.5 fl. oz. Falernum
1 fl. oz. Pineapple Juice
.75 fl. oz. Lime Juice
Mint sprig and Fresh Nutmeg for garnish
Swizzle with crushed ice (or shake with ice and strain over crushed ice) in a tall glass. Garnish with mint spring and grate nutmeg over the top of the drink.
Note: You can find recipes for homemade falernum online, or look into the B.G. Reynolds or John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum brands.