Chartreuse is special.
That’s what Daniel Grajewski, senior director of wine and beverage for José Andrés Group, told me recently while we discussed Chartruese alternatives during a phone call. Even so, Grajewski has been undaunted by the recent Chartreuse shortage due to a decision the Carthusian monks who produce it made not to up production to meet rising demand for their product.
“I don’t look at the scarcity of Chartreuse as necessarily a bad thing,” Grawjewski said. “Because it has opened the door for so many other things in the world that are out there to be discovered.”
But as much as Grawjewski and his team enjoy using liqueurs such as Dolin Génépy and Faccia Brutto to replace Chartreuse, he said that nothing is a perfect one-to-one replacement for the unique flavors of Chartruese. For those lucky enough to get a hold of the green or yellow Chartreuse elixirs, Grawjewski has three favorite Chartreuse cocktails that he shared with me.
The Last Word
This classic among classic cocktails was originally developed during Prohibition by the Detroit Athletic Club but was rediscovered in the early 2000s by bartender Murray Stenson. It is made by combining equal parts of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Grajewski said it is the perfect vehicle to let green Chartreuse’s magic shine. In addition to its flavor, I love how easy the Last Word is to make.
The Naked and Famous
A modern classic created by Joaquín Simó during his time at Death & Co., the Naked and Famous is a personal favorite. Equal parts mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, and Aperol it is a cross between the Last Word and Sam Ross’ Paper Plane — another modern classic. Just as the Last Word is the perfect cocktail to highlight green Chartreuse’s flavor, the Naked and Famous highlights the best of what yellow Chartreuse can bring to a cocktail, Grajewski said. Like the Last Word, it is relatively easy for a home bartender to make the Naked & Famous.
Chartreuse and Root Beer
“Personally, one of my favorite cocktails I just discovered in San Francisco — must have been 15 years ago, is just a simple highball of Green Chartreuse and root beer,” Grawjewski said. “It’s just this flavor bomb that works so well together, and every bar I go to now if I’m in the mood for something sweet at the end of a meal, Chartuese and root beer — if they have it — is one of my go to’s.”