Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Green Chartreuse

Extraordinary efforts went into tasting this strange French elixir. What started as a simple trip to an off-licence to pick up a bottle during a trip to Paris ballooned into a city-wide hunt for a similar bottle that wasn't so damned expensive. When I realised no such thing existed I decided it would be sensible to try a glass of the stuff before investing my hard-earned, but a few hours later found myself in a cafe-bar that wanted to charge me 12 euros (Almost Eleven Pounds!) for the privilege. Va te faire foutre! Later, eventually, somewhere, I found a booze merchant willing to pour me a glass for a fair price.

Green Chartreuse is strong stuff (55% vol), tasting of spices and herbs, with a hint of anis, but not too much. The French monks who make this oak-aged liqueur flavour it with 130 plants, which seems rather OTT (wouldn't 30 suffice?). The colouring, which is natural, is said to come from chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. I have to say I liked it a lot: a respectable rival to the Green Fairy if ever there was one.  And for those who like traipsing across Paris, there's also a yellow Chartreuse - supposedly milder (40%) and sweeter. But I'll be the judge of that.

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