Chartreuse Swizzle

April 21st, 2009  |  Published in liqueur, recipes  |  8 Comments

Chartreuse SwizzleYou may recall, from last week’s post, that I taunted you briefly with mention of the Chartreuse Swizzle, also known as the official drink of our trip to San Francisco. I am a hardcore Chartreuse fan; truly, I think it is one of the more ambrosial delights of the liquor cabinet and burn through bottles at a pace that makes my wallet whimper in protest. Long before I ever discovered the Swizzle, I would order the evocatively named and magically delicious Swamp Water at the Tiki-Ti. Nothing more than green Chartreuse mixed with pineapple juice, the complexity of the spirit makes it far more than the sum of its parts.

Fast forward a few years and here we are with the Chartreuse Swizzle, a more complex and, as though it were possible, more delightful extension of that thought. Swizzles are a class of drinks—essentially punches—usually made with rum, citrus juice and a sweetener such as falernum, mixed via the use of a swizzle stick. These long, multi-pronged stirrers are placed into a glass filled with spirits and cracked ice and rubbed between the palms to create agitation or “swizzling.” Traditionally swizzle sticks were taken from the branches of the Swizzlestick Tree, found in many of the equatorial rum-producing countries, but these days you can buy them made from all kinds of materials.

Credit for this lovely swizzle variation goes to Marco Dionysos of Clock Bar in San Francisco (whose name you’d remember from the Cunningham). We’ve had unseasonably (and unreasonably) hot weather the past few days and I can vouch for the fact that a tall swizzle—especially this one—is good for whatever ails you.

1¼ oz green Chartreuse
½ oz falernum
1 oz pineapple juice
¾ oz lime juice

Swizzle with crushed ice (or shake with ice and strain over crushed ice) in a tall glass. Garnish with a spring of mint and fresh nutmeg.

So what further praise can I possibly heap on this drink to get you to try it? It’s not terribly sweet, with only half an ounce of falernum, and plenty of tartness coming through the juices. The Chartreuse itself lends some sweetness and the herbal qualities of the liqueur are nicely mellowed when mixed with the falernum spice. It’s both easy and challenging to drink; on one hand it tastes great and on the other it isn’t anywhere near as “tropical” as its name suggests. Words aren’t sufficient on this one—go make it for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

Chartreuse Swizzle

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  1. Kate says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 1:22 pm(#)

    This looks fantastic. I love swizzles (having been introduced during my honeymoon in Bermuda) and have a bottle of falernum sitting in my cabinet. I think Chartreuse may be an essential next purchase!

  2. Marleigh says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 1:24 pm(#)

    It’s absolutely worth it! You could easily finish off a 375mL bottle just making these.

  3. Rick says:

    April 26th, 2009at 5:35 pm(#)

    This drink is simply astonishing. Made a couple last night and was brought right back to the Clock Bar. Beautiful photos lately Marleigh!

  4. Marleigh says:

    April 28th, 2009at 11:17 am(#)

    This really is a perfect cocktail. Thanks! The light has been perfect for photographing of late, so here’s hoping it stays that way for a bit.

  5. The Falernum Friday Fix. « Everyday Drinking says:

    May 7th, 2009at 11:06 pm(#)

    [...] The Chartreuse Swizzle, courtesy of Sloshed! [...]

  6. Rick says:

    June 11th, 2009at 8:33 pm(#)

    I have used this recipe probably 15 times since you’ve posted it. Friends who I never expected to appreciate the monkish allure of Chartreuse drink this elixir down like a vial from the Fountain of Youth.

    On a whim, I added 1/4oz of Wray and Nephew overproof rum to it, thinking it went well with lime, pineapple, and falernum. Well, evil genius struck.

  7. Marleigh says:

    June 15th, 2009at 8:45 am(#)

    Marco FTW! I have a bottle of J. Wray I haven’t cracked yet, so I will have to attempt your stroke of genius (even if does make the proof three billion).

  8. Simply The Best Post #14 (Liqueurs) « says:

    November 7th, 2009at 3:45 pm(#)

    [...] Chartreuse In These Cocktails: The Last Word, The Chartreuse Swizzle, The Bijou [...]

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