I am definitely a fan of Chartreuse in all incarnations.LK is right -- my main use for Green is the Last Word:For the Yellow, I go with the Widow's Kiss:~ H
I have all those. What are the proportions? Hmm, actually, I'm wondering if that was what I made. Or it could be something Hunts has suggested.
Everything is equal parts I believe. Shaken with ice and then strained.
Quote:In vino veritas -- 'in wine, truth,' or so it is said. The cocktail, however, is not that simple; it is a more complete expression of the complexities of life, life distilled into a glass. As with life, cocktails can be sweet or sour, spicy or sedate, demure or alluring, uplifting or depressing, or all of the above. They can lull....you...quite...away , or bite back, and sometimes, sometimes, simply defy every expectation you've ever had. And so it is with the aptly entitled Last Word. It's a dichotomy: violent and stunning, sour yet sweet. It's incredibly complex and very hard to get to know. Invented by a vaudevillian named Frank Fogarty in the Detroit Athletic Club, the drink shares its origin in time with the darkest period of libational life in the U.S. -- Prohibition (history courtesy: http://www.cocktailchronicles.com/). The Last Word is a mixture of gin with two incredibly powerful liqueurs that have, separately, been the basis of some of the founding cocktails. But only in the Last Word do these two, Green Chartreuse and Maraschino, come together. Chartreuse, like many storied liqueurs, is the result of monks doing God's work, and for longer than this country has existed, Carthusian monks have infused over 130 herbs, spices, and flowers into this potent spirit. It is both incredibly spicy and unbelievably vegetal; rendolent with the darkest, heaviest aspects of green herbs imaginable, balanced with the freshness of new-mown grass. Everything about Chartreuse is concentrated, from its taste, through its syrupy sweetness, to its 110 proof. So rich is it that many cocktails only call for a few drops; the Last Word requires 3/4 ounce. Dominican monks are responsible for the Last Word's other powerful liqueur, Maraschino. The name correctly tells you that it is born of cherries, the wild Marasca cherries of Italy and Croatia's Adriatic coasts, the same cherries that were the basis of the original maraschino cherries (of which the scarlet horrors sold in supermarkets are but a perversion, but that's another story). Marasca cherries are small, bitter, hard to grow, but rich and full of flavor. The pits, bark, and leaves of cherry trees are distilled with the fruit to yield the liqueur, which is sweetened and aged. Though sweet on the tongue it is....funky and dank, with aromas of overripe fruit, dried woods, dark places, wet rocks, and a twinge of bitter almonds. Maraschino is essential in so many classic cocktails, with as little as a 1/4 oz bringing a defining touch to the Martinez and the Aviation. The Last Word's base spirit is gin. Much maligned, gin is one of the greatest of spirits; bright, clean, and refreshing due to juniper's ability to stand out of a symphony of other flavors -- perfect against the Chartreuse and Maraschino backdrop. For the Last Word, after a little tasting of various gins, I chose neither of my standard cocktail gins -- Plymouth or Hendrick's -- but instead Fritz Maytag's (of Anchor Steam Brewing and dishwasher fame) unique Junipero gin. Were I to drink gin neat, it would be Junipero. Juniper takes a strong lead, and the supporting cast sings equally clean notes of grapefruit and citrus, rather than some of the more common spice notes that either of the liqueurs of the Last Word would drown out. Gin and the two liqueurs combined together, in equal parts with lime juice, creates the Last Word. It's shocking and rare that such potent ingredients could ever combine in harmony. It almost shouldn't work, but it does and it's magic. I want to say this drink is not subtle. But it is. It's also bold and initially quite sweet, but with the acidic undercurrent of lime. It has hidden depths; the Junipero does not get lost, but melts out of the sweet into a resounding cherryness provided by the maraschino, finishing with a little herb-y menthol from the Chartreuse. Many people will hate this drink, some will love it. After the first sip, neither group will know the extent of their feelings about it. That's part of the joy of a well-prepared cocktail made with honest ingredients. It's not simple. It shouldn't be. Too often 'cocktails' these days are a single flavor note, often artificial, with some alcohol added in and the volume turned to 11. They're pretty. They're easy to know, easy to choose, and either you like the note or you don't, and you know immediately. There's nothing more to know. No depth to explore. No journey to join. Drinks like the Last Word are a symphony; complex and daunting, they require deliberation but give timelessness in return -- precisely because they are not simple they refresh your experience of them, and of life through them. This is something I seek in all aspects of life, and amongst the greatest joy of cocktails for me. The Last Word: Equal parts Green Chartreuse, Maraschino, Gin, and lime juice. Shake with ice and serve neat in a cocktail glass.
Quote:It's a killer. It's insane. It's wrong in every imaginable way. You know, you know, that it's wrong....and yet. The moment it touches your tongue, oh! so sweet, and then! You are a baby again, what is that memory? Applesauce....yes, applesauce, warm with cinnamon, nutmeg and spices. It lulls... you... away, away to some other place where you just. don't. care....and then.... its violence rips you out of that world with a flavor so herbal and green that it wipes you of everything you'd ever felt before. Then it's gone. Leaving you confused but intoxicated by the memory alone. You thought you knew what you were doing. But no, you were wrong; quite wrong. But it knew. It knew. Cocktails, like music and all the experiences of life, have a certain harmony to them. We learn through failure and ecstasy that there are....rules, if you will... that serve, by and large, to protect us from the discordant notes of the less pleasant experiences. There are things that should be done, and those that should not. But as in life those rules are somewhat...conservative, sometimes just a little too safe. Breaking them in just the right circumstances can be something of revelatory experience. And so it is with The Widow's Kiss. It is the breaking of all the rules. One powerful spirit with two incredibly sweet and complex liqueurs and a dash of bitters. You just don't do that. The base is Calvados -- that rare, ancient, and rather wild apple brandy of Normandy, which achieves such character as it rests in barrels of beautiful Limousin oak. The two liqueurs are added. The first, Benedictine, the slightly herbal and very spicy liqueur of the Benedictine monks. It was developed in the 16th Century and every bottle is consecrated to "Deo Optimo Maximo" -- the best and greatest God. To taste Benedictine is to know that the monks are, indeed, doing God's work. Monks of the Carpathian order provide the second liqueur: Yellow Chartreuse. Yellow Chartreuse, apart from being incredibly sweet is violently vegetal -- the only more herbal liqueur is it's older companion Green Chartreuse (for which the color was named). To mix it with Benedctine is to me almost unthinkable-- the spiciness and warmth of Benedictine meeting the herbal, and cold vegetal edge of Chartreuse. But it doesn't stop there, no, several drops of bitters are the final touch. Bitters are an incredibly important component of any drink that calls for them, and here they add that warmth and cinnamon to the apple of the Calvados. I'd never mix these together. Calvados is too subtle and too fruity for the two liqueurs, and the liqueurs themselves are too complex, too sweet, and far too forthright to work together. And yet. Sometimes... the rules are wrong. I recommend that you never, ever try the Widow's Kiss, but I hope that you do.