Does the art of making mixed drinks, or mixology, have its roots in the Middle Ages, a time when people were fascinated by infusions, macerations and sagacious compositions?
Undoubtedly, because the practice has continued, becoming more specialised and adapting to the modern world. Thus, the first complex cocktails were invented in the United States and in England in the 19th century. Since the 2000s, creativity has become mixology’s watchword, making this world perfect terrain for Green Chartreuse.
The word cocktail comes from an extremely singular habit, as it derives from the practice of placing a cock’s feather in the glass!
In 1860, Harry Johnson, a legendary barman and author of the first cocktail handbook, created the “Bijou”, which incorporates a generous measure of Green Chartreuse. Another pioneer, Jerry Thomas, included a Green Chartreuse-based composition, called the “Brandy Daisy”, in his 1876 guide to cocktails.
In 1920, when the National Prohibition Act came into effect, barmen in the United States were forced to use contraband alcohol to make cocktails, which were often served in unusual locations. For example, 1925 saw the creation of the fabulous “Last Word”, which was first drunk at the Detroit Athletic Club. Adapted to modern tastes by Murray Stenson in Seattle in 2004, the “Last Word” has now spread to bars in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and as far afield as Amsterdam and London. Long before that, many barmen moved to Europe to escape prohibition, thereby spreading the hedonistic culture of mixed drinks. As a result, London’s Savoy bar has been a purveyor of world-class cocktails since 1889.
In France, long consigned to the “digestif” cupboard, Chartreuse is showing a new found confidence and audacity. Cocktails have gained widespread acceptance, most notably through the “shooter”, the latest innovation in this fledgling world. In 1992, a cocktail created in Grenoble and baptised the “Tip n’Top” was an instant hit. There was no turning back and creativity took off. “Chartreuse Experience” was the star of 2000, while 2003’s “Chartreus’ito” blends Chartreuse into a long drink with minty undertones.
Self-assured, Green Chartreuse has transformed itself into an essential ingredient, the salt and pepper of cocktails.