A conversation on twitter the other night, combined with the dip in ambient temperatures has got me thinking about those spirits that we consider "medicinal" and why we don't consider drinking them in hot form. We all recongize the magical herbal powers of Fernet Branca, and talk in hushed tones about the mystical maceration of 130 herbs and spices in Green Chartreuse, but the default is to down a shot glass of it, much like medicine. In fact, until recently, both Fernet Branca and Unicum (and for that matter even Jaegermeister) were available behind the counter at many pharmacies!
But to swig a shot is akin to taking the superhighway to one's destination, and missing the beauty of the scenic route! Albeit it takes longer, but the surprises along the way more than make up for it. I began to wonder why an ancient spirit such as Chartreuse has never been turned into a toddy — possibly one of the first "cocktail" incarnations ever invented. Basic: spirit + sweet + warm non-alchohol base. I've seen some combinations with hot chocolate, but that doesn't hold much appeal for me personally – I like Chartreuse, and feel the chocolate would overpower the herbal notes.
In the spirit of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" I'm keeping things simple here. I love the herbal flavour of Chartreuse, and had just picked up a Tropical Lagoon (a white tea blend from Silk Road Tea) that I thought would be a perfect pairing. A little lemon, a little honey or agave, and a knob of ginger, and you have a pretty tasty hot toddy!
(Janice Mansfield, 2011)
- 1 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
- 1 tsp. honey or agave syrup
- 2 quarter sized coins of ginger
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 5-6 oz. hot tea (I used Silk Road Tropical Lagoon, but you can pick a nice green or white tea with citrus notes)
In a heatproof mixing glass, bruise the ginger, and add the honey or agave syrup. Add the Green Chartreuse, and lemon juice, and then the hot tea, stirring briefly to mix. Let stand 1 minute, and strain into a warmed mug, Float a lemon slice on top.
Caveat: recently, the ever-talented Bradford Knudson from Swing Wine Bar in Olympia, created the Hot Buttered Fernet — a hot bevvie of epic proportions! A pot was regularly at the simmer through the cold days of last winter over at Clives Classic Lounge, and I may have enjoyed a few .
Disclaimer: I am considering going on a 30 days and nights of Chartreuse challenge in the new year, to see if the healing properties will be beneficial as a tonic, as some claim. In this vein, I am determined to also come up with as many ways of consiming Chartreuse as possible. Personally, I'm hoping for a more luxurious head of hair at the end of the month, but if it can help me feel as good as fussing about with an assortment of herbal tinctures, I say huzzah!!!