I’ve covered Chartreuse before and it’s an amazing, storied liqueur. It’s the only spirit that’s still actually distilled by monks, and it even had a color named after it.
So what is this small medicine bottle – the Élixir Végétal variety of Chartreuse? The 10 cl (3+ oz) bottle is packaged in a custom-carved wooden sleeve, this 69% alcohol elixir is meant to be used in small doses. Ignoring it’s questionable legality in the U.S., how do you use this elixir in cocktails?
My suggestion is that you either use Élixir Végétal in the place of cocktail bitters, or drink it as you would absinthe: 1 oz of Élixir topped with very cold water poured over a sugar cube. If the black-licorice flavor of absinthe hasn’t appealed to you in the past, this herbal liqueur is different enough that you may enjoy it instead. For me, I created a cocktail with it that’s a twist on the Old Fashioned:
Monk’s Old Fashioned (by Greg Mays)
- in an old fashioned glass, pour:
- 1 tsp Chartreuse Élixir Végétal
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- top with ice and add 2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
- stir until chilled