Oz Juice

I finally sprang for a bottle of green Chartreuse so I could make a few recipes dating back to January that call for it. One also calls for yellow Chartreuse; I'm waiting for another drink with that before I fork out another almost $50.

Chartreuse is one of th0se 10, 432 secret herbs and spices drinks, made by monks from an age-old recipe known to only them and God. With the value of the dollar as low as it is, buying a bottle is like ordering a very nice burgundy when you go out for a steak at Morton's or Ruth's Chris. No wine captain though included in the price, though, but I bet the liquor store clerk would have come over and opened it for me if I'd bought bottles of both green and yellow.

For my first taste, I poured a little into a sherry glass (only a little at that price). James Villas, the well-known food writer, raves about it in a book of essays I've been reading, but I felt like Elmer the Cow getting my meadow in liquid form. Chartreuse really is very herbal. And sweet, and you know how I feel about sweet drinks. But it undoubtedly would make an excellent aperitif before a fine French meal or to help the cud go down through however many stomachs Elmer has.

The drink recipe I made with it dated back to St. Patrick's Day: Irish whiskey (Jameson's, of course), Chartreuse, and creme de menthe (I used the clear stuff instead of green). Verdict: not bad. Sweet but not cloying. Anything with Jameson's works for me, especially the second and third glass.

Last night I had another Irish cocktail concoction calling for Irish whiskey, a "Blarney Stone": Jameson's, cointreau, a little licoricey Ricard, maraschino liqueur (I used juice out of a jar of cherries since I can't find the real stuff), a dash of bitters (Peychaud's instead of Angostura), and a lemon twist, which I actually went and whittled off a lemon I have sitting around. Verdict: not too bad. The licorice was subtle, the drink was sort of a variation on a sidecar. Although I didn't drink every drop (I did suck the lemon peel), so I can't give it my highest recommendation.

Speaking of the Ricard, since I've discovered that I don't detest licorice/anise tastes as much as I thought I did, I put a little of the Herbsaint on some root vegetables with a roast I was cooking the other night. (Again, at the price of a bottle of that, only a little.) You couldn't really taste any anise when everything was done, but it all tasted pretty good.