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A great classic Calvados and green chartreuse cocktail, of French origin.
We love exploring classic cocktail books and revisiting classic cocktails. This week we head back to one of our favorite books, Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail. It might be the definitive collection of Pre-Prohibition era cocktails. One cocktail that caught our eye was the Champs Elysees, a classic French cocktail that just exudes elegance.
Green Chartreuse Cocktail
The Champs Elysees faded from popularity for a while. But, as interest in classic cocktails has grown, you can now find the Champs Elysees on many menus at craft cocktail bars.
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The traditional Champs Elysees is as French as its namesake, using two classic French spirits, cognac and Chartreuse. This creates an intriguing elegant cocktail. In the Savoy Cocktail book, Harry Craddock (one of the most famous bartenders of the 1920s and 1930s) presents the Champs Elysees as a six person recipe, which means this was a heck of a party drink!
If You are Looking for a Classic Cocktail, Try These!
- Gin and Jam
- Blood and Sand
- Christmas Old Fashioned
- Raspberry Gimlet
- Maple Old Fashioned
- Pimm’s Cup
- Apple Cider Sidecar
- Lavender Bee’s Knees
- Hibiscus Salty Dog
- Pisco Sour
Like many cocktails of this era, this cocktail showcases the spirits. It doesn’t try to hide the boozy aspects beneath a ton of mixers.
The Champs Elysees prominently features Chartreuse in the cocktail, which gives the cocktail a very unique flavor. Chartreuse is a unique liqueur made up of a combination of 130 herbs and botanicals that are combined per a recipe passed down by Carthusian monks since 1737.
This liqueur is super complex and aromatic, with layers of flavors. They combine to make a very herb forward spirit and rich green color that is uniquely French.
Is Calvados A Cognac?
We decided to mix up our take on the Champs Elysees and substitute in another classic French spirit, Calvados for the cognac. Calvados is an apple brandy distilled from French apple cider in the Normandy region, where there are huge apple orchards.
With a large concentration of apple orchards in the region, it was only natural that the farmer’s of Normandy decided to use some of their harvest to make booze from their cider! It is distilled twice like a cognac.
The combination of Calvados and Chartreuse make for a great pairing. The hint of apple in the Calvados enhancing the natural sweetness in the Chartreuse cocktail. With the spirits being fairly bold, we needed to bring the drink into balance by adding in a sour and a sweet component.
One sure fire way to add a sour component is to incorporate some fresh squeezed lemon juice. This not only brings sour notes but also a bright hint of citrus that helps pull out some of the more subtle herbal notes of the Chartreuse. A splash of simple syrup sweetens up the drink and balances out the spirits and sour.
What Ingredients are Needed for the Champs Elysees Cocktail?
- Lemon Juice
- Simple Syrup
- Green Chartreuse
- Apple Brandy
- Angostura Bitters
A couple of dashes of aromatic bitters brings a finishing touch to our take on the Champs Elysees by adding a hint of spice. The bitters works really well with the apple hints from the Calvados. A pinch of salt tempers the tartness of the lemon and helps smooth the herbal notes to make it very pleasing to the tastebuds!
A pleasing combination of sweet and citrus, the Champs Elysees has a wonderful herbal component that makes this cocktail a real study in layered flavors and aromas. Fans of spirit forward cocktails will enjoy this as the spirits are boldly showcased, while the citrus brings a refreshing tartness to the cocktail!
What herbs does Green Chartreuse Contain?
Lemon verbena, lemon balm, spearmint, fennel, thyme, angelica, sage, geranium, lemongrass, chamomile, bay, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, saffron, and many others. This is such a great herbal liqueur that adds to much flavor!
Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
Other Calvados Cocktails
- Escape from New York – Imbibe
- Calvados Sidecar – The Washington Post
- Calvados Jack Rose Cocktail – Nomageddon
- Apples and Oranges – The Wonderland Kitchen
- Hot Apple Pie – What a Girl Eats
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Classic flavors in this cocktail - Calvados, green chartreuse and lemon.
- pinch of salt
- 1.50 oz Calvados Apple Brandy
- .50 oz green chartreuse
- .50 oz simple syrup
- .75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to a shaker.
Fill with ice and shake vigorously.
Strain into a cocktail coupe.
Garnish with a citrus twist.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116 Total Fat: 0.2g Saturated Fat: 0.2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 16mg Carbohydrates: 13.5g Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 0.8g Protein: 0.2g
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