Chartreuse and Tequila Make a Surprisingly Good Team

Chartreuse and Tequila Make a Surprisingly Good Team
Photo: Claire Lower

Last Monday evening, I made a fully realised, intentional cocktail for someone else. Seeing as my boyfriend is sober and no one else in my COVID pod drinks liquor, this has not happened in quite some time.

I also made it with tequila, a spirit I’m pretty sure has been sitting undisturbed on my bar cart for about 14 months. I asked my guest to choose anything they wanted from the cart, and that is what they chose, so that is what I used. The problem, however, is that I was out of limes — an essential ingredient for many popular tequila-based drinks. Instead of despairing, I combed through old editions of this very column, until I happened upon this 50/50 mixture of Bénédictine and respado tequila I wrote up a few years ago.

I was, unfortunately, also out of respado tequila, but the idea of equal parts tequila and a fancy herbal liqueur sounded like a good template, and it was. I replaced the missing respado with some Herradura silver, and swapped Bénédictine for green Chartreuse. Then I added a few dashes of lime bitters, stirred it over ice, and strained it into a lowball with one big cube. It was good.

Today, I decided to take a slightly different approach, and shake it all up over one big cube and serve it up. It was also good. The stirred version is silkier and denser, while the shaken iteration is lighter and airier, but both are surprisingly smooth, considering how much ethanol they contain — the kind of oaky, vanilla-tinged tequila pairs well with whatever combination of herbs those monks put into green Chartreuse. To make it, you will need:

  • 45 mL silver tequila
  • 45 mL green Chartreuse
  • 4 dashes lime bitters

Add everything to a stirring glass or shaker tin; your choice. If you are stirring, add lots of cracked ice to the glass; if you are shaking, add one big cube to the tin. Shake or stir to fully chill. Strain into a coupe to serve it up, or over a large cube. Garnish with a strip of lime zest.

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