Winter Warmth

New Year’s Eve is around the corner, and while the majority of us may be thinking of Champagne cocktails, I’ve decided to go a different route for this post, and tackle the task of keeping warm throughout the cold winter nights.

For those few out there that know me, it is common knowledge that I’m not a big fan of hot beverages. It’s not that I have anything against a steaming cup of booze, it’s just that I’ve never really gotten off on hot drinks. For those of you who are wondering, yes, this means that I am a bartender living in the land of Starbucks who has never had a full cup of coffee in his life. Me and Bigfoot: making the Pacific Northwest a wondrous place to be.

Lately, however, I’ve been warming up (pun intended), to heated libations. I don’t know if it’s because this year seems to be a colder winter than usual, or if it’s just that in my old age, my palate is changing, but lately Hot Toddies and Café Royals don’t seem so uninteresting to me.

Now, I know that there are a whole slew of “Special Coffees” out there, and that everyone has their favorite, but today I’m going to give you two recipes that use one of my all-time favorite liqueurs: Chartreuse.

Chartreuse has been around since the beginning of time, well ok, maybe not the beginning of time, but the recipe has been around since 1605 when the Carthusian monks first received a manuscript which gave them the formula for an “Elixir of Long Life”.

Many people ask me what Chartreuse tastes like, and, being a product with over 130 herbs and a recipe that is only known to two monks, my only response is to give that person a taste. In my mind, there is nothing else like it, which is partly why I love Chartreuse so much. The other reason that I love Chartreuse is its complexity. The longer you hold your sip in your mouth, the more flavors you will discover bursting forth.

If you haven’t tried Chartreuse yet, I suggest that you go out and buy a bottle (it conveniently comes in half bottles as well). Be aware that most good stores will carry two kinds of Chartreuse: green and yellow. The green has more alcohol and is more herbaceous, while the yellow comes in at 40% and I find it to be a little more mellow and honeyed. If you are worried about finding recipes using Chartreuse, this site already has nine, and CocktailDB will give you another one hundred and twenty one.

Here are two good Chartreuse hot drinks. First we have the:

1 lump sugar
1 oz yellow Chartreuse
6 oz hot black coffee
build in a heated coffee cup

Yellow chartreuse is sweeter and mellower than the green version, and works well with a nice black coffee. As with all hot drinks, ensure that your cup is warm before adding the ingredients.

Next up we have the:

2 oz green Chartreuse
6 oz hot chocolate
wet cream
build in heated glass

Wet cream is made in the same manner as whipped cream, but one stops before the cream becomes stiff. The aeration allows the cream to sit neatly on top of the hot chocolate.

If one wants to show off, one could light the Chartreuse on fire before adding the hot chocolate, as this is a showy way of heating the glass before serving.

This has got to be my all-time favorite hot drink. It reminds me of many a ski trip that was capped off with this lovely libation. I’m a big fan of Chartreuse, so you might want to tame down the portions in your Verte Chaud, but have it be known that Chartreuse and chocolate work wonders together (almost as good as chartreuse and gin). Be sure to use a good quality, bitter chocolate, so that you can easily adjust the sweetness: if you use a cheap hot chocolate you might find the resulting mixture a tad too sweet.

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you all in ’08!

Pictures by:
Jamie Boudreau



~ by Jamie Boudreau on December 29, 2007.

13 Responses to “Winter Warmth”

  1. Yum. Chartreuse is my very favorite liqueur, so these will be high on my list to try.

    But you’re not really using the VEP in these, are you? 🙂 (It does make a pretty picture.)

  2. I normally don’t use VEP, but at the time, it was all I had at the house and it worked beautifully. I can’t drink hot chocolate without Chartreuse now.

  3. Oh my. Guess what I’m having tonight…hahahaha!

  4. Jamie,

    So fricken tasty. This will easily be added to the winter drink list. I had trouble lighting the chartreuse… any ideas? (it was in the freezer)

  5. Rick:
    room temp or warmed Chartreuse has no problem lighting.

  6. Tried the hot chocolate and Chartreuse tonight – wow! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink regular hot chocolate again…

  7. IN awe of the glassware not to mention the fine alchemies . . . has anyone tried yellow Chartreuse with St. Germain Elderflower? Here’s a recipe I hope you would comment upon. I call it “Elder’s Word” because it’s derived from the “Last Word” cocktail that’s a tribute to cocktail alchemy.
    1 part gin (New Holland, Plymouth, Bombay classic)
    3/4 part St. Germain
    3/4 part Yellow Chartreuse
    1 part Lemon Juice

    Any takers?

  8. It is funny, because I live in Grenoble (capital of the French Alps, just 20 kilometers from the place where they distill Chartreuse) and I’ve always heard the name “Green Chaud” used by my French fellow citizens, instead of “Verte Chaud”. In fact, it would make more sense for us (i.e., French people) to call it the “Verte Chaud”, and for you (i.e., English speaking people) to call it a “Green Chaud” (or even a “Green Hot”? “Hot Green”?). BTW, I would not have dared using V.E.P. in a “Green/Verte Chaud”.
    Anyway, this glass of Chartreuse-flavoured chocolat chaud looks delicious.

  9. Jamie, one day I’d like to make you an epiphany moment shot of espresso; or introduce you to “cupping” the evaluatory process for getting to know coffee. Might open up a whole new world!

    Meanwhile, I like the Chartreuse exploration. As you probably know, we don’t have yellow chartreuse imported into Canada, or in Vancouver, but a friend brought me 750mls up from Seattle, and we’re having a late night talk, and enjoying building a few cocktails with it – so I stumbled on over here.

  10. […] Now there are many alcoholic hot choc recipes out there but we were more interested in the ones that you find ‘apres-ski’ which involve Chartreuse. Named the ‘Elixir of Long Life’ Chartreuse is a French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in the secret manuscript given to them by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605. Now you know. It is known to have an ‘assertive’ flavour and just a few drop are sufficient as its is aged with 130 herbs and plants. It is known to work excellently well with chocolate – but it has to be excellent quality drinking choc or the result will be overly sweet. Sit back, close your eyes and think of the slopes! Verte Chaud. […]

  11. […] with coffee (and sugar) […]

  12. […] first time I heard about the combination of Chartreuse and chocolate was in a blog post by bartender and brand ambassador Jamie Boudreau. His drink Verte Chaud is the simple combination […]

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