Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Cloister Cocktail

Cloister Cocktail

Chartreuse and citrus sparkle in this little-known charmer

We’re transitioning to autumn in our part of the world. And looking for a predinner drink, of course.

Hence, The Cloister Cocktail – a gin-based palate cleanser with bright citrus and sharp Chartreuse.

Never heard of it? Most people haven’t. But we need to change that.

Because a drink this good shouldn’t be, well, cloistered away.



Cloister Cocktail

Recipe: The Cloister Cocktail

The Cloister is reminiscent of the Alaska Cocktail or maybe the Last Word Cocktail. Which makes sense, because all of them are gin-based and feature Chartreuse. But the Cloister has stronger citrus notes, making its flavor a bit softer.

We learned about this drink from reading Robert Hess, and this is his recipe.

This recipe makes one drink. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces dry gin
  • ½ ounce yellow Chartreuse (can substitute green; see Notes)
  • ½ ounce unsweetened white grapefruit juice (see Notes)
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • lemon twist for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake until the contents are well chilled (about 20 seconds).
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
Cloister Cocktail

Notes
  • If you prefer, you can serve this drink over ice in a rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass. But we like the way it looks when served straight up.
  • Chartreuse liqueur comes in both green and yellow versions. Green Chartreuse (which lends its name to the color chartreuse) has a more assertive flavor than the yellow iteration.
  • Most people don’t have both green and yellow Chartreuse on hand (though we’re cocktail crazed, so of course we do). If you have only green – and if you don’t want to buy a bottle of yellow just to make this drink – go ahead and substitute green. Use about half as much Chartreuse as the recipe calls for (maybe a touch more). The flavor of the cocktail will be somewhat different, but still good.
  • Chartreuse is a bit on the sweet side, with a strong herbal flavor. It’s extremely pungent, so a little goes a long way in cocktails. 
  • Chartreuse was developed by Carthusian monks during the 1730s in Voiron (southeastern France, close to Grenoble and the French Alps). 
  • Any good-quality London-style dry gin works in this drink (almost every gin you’re likely to see is London-style dry gin). If in doubt, ask your friendly liquor store personnel for a recommendation.
  • Always use unsweetened white grapefruit juice in this drink. The pink stuff is too sweet (and the wrong color). Fresh-squeezed juice is always best, but canned or bottled works perfectly well.
  • Remember that grapefruit can react negatively with some prescription medications (such as statins). So check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt.
  • What’s the history of this cocktail? No one really knows. Robert Hess discovered it when reading the 2005 edition of Stewart Walton’s The Bartender’s Guide to Cocktails & Mixed Drinks. Hess managed to trace the drink back to a reference in the 1975 edition of Playboy’s Host & Bar Book by Thomas Mario. But anything earlier than that? No joy.
Cloister Cocktail

Welcome to the Club

“Refreshing,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Not to mention delish.”

“Hard to believe this drink isn’t better known,” I said. “Maybe we should start a Cloister Club to sing its praises.”

“Yup,” said Mrs K R. “Our motto could be ‘The World is our Cloister.’”

Or maybe we’re just not clubbable.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Alaska Cocktail
Last Word Cocktail
Bijou Cocktail
Champs Élysées Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

62 comments:

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

I love Charteuse , so this would be my kind of cocktail. Prost!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Gerlinde, Chartreuse adds such nice flavor to this. You'll love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Evelyne CulturEatz said...

Oh fun drink and great name! I am a gin fan and like chartreuse. I do no the last Word but who gets that in a cloister ;-)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Evelyne, :-) This drink really has lovely flavor -- bet you'd like it. Thanks for the comment.

Angie Schneider said...

This is new to me and I have never had Chartreuse...now I am really intrigued!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Angie, Chartreuse is wonderful stuff! In a cocktail, that is -- not too fond of it by itself. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Pam said...

Yum. It looks and sounds delicious.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Pam, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Tricia Buice said...

I bet this has a nice tang. It sounds delicious and is so pretty. Send some cooler weather our way please ;)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Tricia, this really does have nice tang. :-) Thanks for the comment.

mimi rippee said...

It's beautiful!

Rocquie said...

I don't know what chartreuse is other than a color. But I love the name of this cocktail. --Rocquie

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Mimi, tasty, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Rocquie, Chartreuse is worth getting to know. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Anne in the kitchen said...

This sounds like the prefect drink for a hot, humid August night. Luckily I still have a couple left to try it out on!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Anne, this is a nice refreshing drink for warm/hot weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

I think of my Aunt Jane when I hear the word cloister...she's served our Sisters of Mercy as a nun in St. Louis and will be 100 years old in January! If I were there; I would make her this...she has been known to enjoy a tipple or too and this one sounds great!

HWC Magazine said...

LOVE gin and LOVE grapefruit juice. Count us in!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Barb, this one is good -- Aunt Jane would approve. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Bobbi, grapefruit juice is a really nice cocktail ingredient. As is gin, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Amira's Pantry said...

This looks pretty cool and refreshing for the last rays in Summer...

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Amira, very cool, very refreshing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

mjskit said...

What a nice early fall cocktail. Nice simple ingredients. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi MJ, it's a delightful drink. :-) Thanks for the comment, and have a great weekend!

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

Love chartreuse. We only use the green and I'm not sure but I think it is also higher proof. Have never tried it in combo with grapefruit juice but I'm willing to try. And no need to twist my arm!

Mae Travels said...

La Grand Chartreuse is (I think) still a monastery, but I think the drink is made elsewhere these days. That part of the Alps (which have their own name) is incredibly beautiful. We used to drink Chartreuse sometimes because of the memory of the scenery.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Cocoa and Lavender said...

So clever with the puns! I have been in love with Chartreuse since I stayed a while with friends in Grenoble, although have never had the yellow. Maybe it’s time to get out of the cloister and get a bottle!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Abbe, the green is much higher proof than the yellow. And glad I won't have to twist your arm to try this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Mae, production of Chartreuse moved to Spain I believe twice over the years, but I think it's back in Voiron these days (would have to check up on that, though; could well be wrong). We haven't been to that part of France -- would love to visit! Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi David, if you enjoy Chartreuse and playing with cocktails, I'd get a bottle of yellow for sure. It will last you almost forever, though -- you only use a little at a time. Thanks for the comment.

Laura Dembowski said...

Chartreuse is my favorite spirit and I am excited to try this. The last word has become my go to cocktail but the citrus in this sounds fab!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Laura, the Last Word is terrific, isn't it? You'll like this -- loads of nice flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Liz Berg said...

I think it's high time I add a bottle of chartreuse to my liquor cabinet! Lovely, John!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Liz, it definitely is high time! It's such a neat ingredient in cocktails. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Denise Browning said...

Such a sexy drink!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Denise, nice, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.

GiGi Eats said...

Cheers to a refreshing long weekend here in the states!! :) If only I could knock a couple of these refreshers back too - hahaha!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi GiGi, Landon will just have to drink for you. Tough duty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Deb|EastofEdenCooking said...

Count me as one who didn't know there were two kinds of Chartreuse! Thank you for sharing John!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Deb, now you'll just have to try both of them, right? :-) Thanks for the comment.

sherry said...

gin is so popular here these days. i have a lovely one in my cupboard which changes colour from blue to pink when you add the tonic. it's the butterfly pea flower that does the trick. love the photos here. cheers sherry

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Sherry, I don't think I've ever seen a gin that changes color when you add tonic. Neat! I'll have to look into that. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Juliana said...

I have never tasted Chartreuse...but it sounds fantastic...gin and all the citrus in it...so refreshing and yes...elegant!
Have a wonderful weekend John!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Juliana, gin plays so well with many ingredients, particularly with vermouth and liqueurs. This is a dynamite combo of flavors, particularly with the citrus. Elegant indeed! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Ron said...

Anything with Chartreuse and gin in it is a winner in my book. We usually have green on hand so will try that version. We love an occasional Last Word and I'm a fan Chartreuse Swizzle on a warm day.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Nope, never heard of it before, but it sounds good! And, as always, you cover all my questions in your "Notes." Such as, What does Chartreuse taste like? Can it be overdone? … Good job!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Ron, never had a Chartreuse Swizzle! Gotta give that a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Jean, you can definitely overdo Chartreuse! Well, at least in my opinion. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Food Gal said...

I can never resist a good gin cocktail, especially one with the lovely bitter edge of grapefruit. Bottoms up! ;)

Fran @ Gday Souffle said...

I've got plenty of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice on hand, as a result of one of my neighborhood 'scavenger hunts' (thanks to a grapefruit tree growing next to my local train station). I made a 'Lobster Chartreuse' recipe once- must now try the drink version!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Carolyn, gin cocktails are lovely, aren't they? Cheers! :-) And thanks for the comment.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Fran, lucky you with all that fresh grapefruit! The gin in this drink will help preserve it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Debra Eliotseats said...

When is the meeting of the next Cloister Club?

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Debra, :-) This afternoon! Thanks for the comment.

Katerina Delidimou said...

Perfect cocktail to celebrate the change of season! I love citrus flavor in everything edible!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Katerina, citrus flavors are terrific, aren't they? So good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons said...

LOVE the color of this beautiful drink, John! It sounds both sweet and fresh all at once! I admit I haven't yet tried Chartreuse. But this lovely cocktail will change that! :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Anne, Chartreuse is a delightful ingredient in cocktails! Such good flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

Frank Fariello said...

Looks really refreshing.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Frank, it's a delish drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

Emma @ Bake Then Eat said...

I would absolutley adore one of these!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hi Emma, it's good. :-) Thanks for the comment.