Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chartreuse - cheers!

I was interested to learn that the color is called chartreuse because it is the same color as a liqueur called Chartreuse.
Isn't that beautiful? It is made in the French Alps by monks from a secret mixture of herbs. I have never tasted chartreuse, but I'd like to. I wondered if chartreuse was the same thing as absinthe, which is another liqueur of the same color, also made from herbs and quite famous in art history.
I googled around and learned that they are not the same thing, but I kept seeing them referred to as "cousins" so I am assuming there are similarities beyond the color. Absinthe has a very scandalous reputation. It contains small amounts of a hallucinogenic drug, derived from wormwood, as well as alcohol and gained the reputation of being very addictive and the ruination of many a good soul. Some sources say that Chartreus contains the same drug, but modern testing has shown that the amount of the hallucinogenic, in both liqueurs,  is so minimal as to be totally ineffective. Absinthe was actually banned in many countries, including the US, for many years, but has recently been absolved of its ruinous reputation and is now available in the US again.

I am a huge fan of Degas and have always loved his painting, "The Absinthe Drinker."

Is that not a testament to the evils of absinthe? What a face. A lost soul. But, just look at that lovely glass of absinthe. Beautiful chartreuse color. I was even more interested to discover, when I Googled the painting, that there are several other paintings by the same name, including a really great one by Picasso.

So, here's to Chartreuse. Bottoms up!

6 comments:

deb said...

Fascinating! Can't wait to see what you all come up with.

Connie Rose said...

You've never had a Harvey Wallbanger? Orange juice with vodka and chartreuse -- QUITE good!

Kristin L said...

Fascinating research Terry. I've never seen a bottle of Chartruese, but boy could the name conjure up scenes like Degas' in that context.

Diane said...

It does look herbal and pretty. I think you'd better do some "tasting" research so you can inform all of us!

Connie, in college we made Harvey Wallbangers with oj, vodka, and galliano. I wonder if it tastes similar to chartreuse?

Ursula said...

Galliano tastes primarily of anise and vanilla. Chartreuse is much more herbal, kind of grassy (I think it tastes the way fresh-cut grass smells), and is more pungent than sweet (though it is sweet).

Hope that helps . . .

pompomrouge said...

The Green Fairy - appeals to the romantic heart of even non-drinkers like me :) .