Chartreuse Day: May 16th birthday party for a 413 years old liqueur!

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May 16th is “Chartreuse Day”: the anniversary of the recipe of the Chartreuse “Elixir of long life”, the French green liqueur living a second life in present days mixology.

In 1605, maréchal François Hannibal d’Estrées presented the monks of the Chartreuse monastery ( Vauvert, Paris) with an ancient manuscript: the recipe of an “Elixir of Long Life”. The Elixir needs 130 (!!!) different herbs.

The manuscript was so complex that it took more than a century, and the help of the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the Grenoble mountains, to be completely understood: in 1737 the Chartreuse Elixir was – finally – born, by the hands of Friar Jerome Maubec, Grande Chartreuse’s apothecary.

Today’s recipe is just the same: Friar Jerome’s skills are still at work, to create the Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse, a “healthy” liqueur with 69% alcohol by volume after the suspension of herbs and botanical in wine.

In 1764, the monks developed a milder version, the “Green Chartreuse” (55% alcohol).

The Green Chartreuse was a huge success immediately, but the French Revolution made the monks leave France in 1793.

We were lucky enough to have them making a copy of the recipe manuscript… In 1838, after the Restauration, the “Yellow” (40% alcohol) was designed.

The monks had troubles again with the French government, but – for the joy of bartenders and patrons all over the world – the recipe survived expulsions and even landslides!

Nowadays May 16th is celebrated as the liqueur’s “birthday”; the Green is the main character of the America Pola cocktail, our homage to Chartreuse: à la santé!!!

America Pola cocktail

  • Green Chartreuse;
  • Mulassano Bitter;
  • Fever-Tree Tonic;
  • (a few drops of) Elixir Vegetal!
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