Grapefruit and Chartreuse Make a Chill Couple

Grapefruit and Chartreuse Make a Chill Couple
Photo: Claire Lower
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One of my favourite parts of moving to a new neighbourhood is finding all my new “spots.” A new bar, a new coffee shop, a new corner store — picking one of each and frequenting them all with regularity is fun for me. But due to Covid, I haven’t been able to mingle with my new neighbours as I usually would.

I can count on one hand the number of local establishments I’ve physically been to since moving to Lents (the same Portland, OR neighbourhood as Woody Guthrie), and every visit has been (obviously) masked and (necessarily) expedient. Recently, rather than linger over the citrus selection at Portland Fruit, I shot through the small aisles, tossing the items on my list into my basket without stopping to browse. If not for the bowl of small, lightly bruised grapefruit at the till, I would have missed the two-for-a-dollar deal completely — and I wouldn’t be sipping on this surprisingly subtle Chartreuse and tequila cocktail right now.

Nothing about grapefruit, green Chartreuse, or tequila say “subtle” to me. Most people find grapefruit too bitter without a sprinkling of sugar. Tequila — or at least cheap tequila — needs salt. And the violently green Chartreuse is packed with both botanicals and booze. Yet somehow, when combined, the three mellow into something almost too understated. The grapefruit reads as juicy instead of bitter, the tequila goes down smooth, and the Chartreuse makes itself known without dominating the cup. It’s so pleasant, I initially wondered if it was too pleasant, before remembering that I am someone whose idea of a “nice beverage” is equal parts Campari and Fernet (delicious, but hardly pleasant).

If I had to change one thing, I would add a strip of grapefruit zest as a garnish, if only to bring back a touch of bitterness and highlight how pleasant a throuple of assertive components can be (and to use up every bit of those precious grapefruits). To make it, you will need:

  • 45mL ounces tequila blanco
  • 22mL green Chartreuse
  • 22mL fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

Add everything to a shaker filled with cracked ice and shake until it is very cold. Strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a strip of grapefruit zest if you so desire, and enjoy.

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