Yellow Jacket

My yearslong fascination with chartreuse (the drink, but also the color) came to a head back in April, when my brother-in-law acquired a bottle of the green variety. Taste-testing ensued, and to make a long story short, I ended up purchasing a bottle of the yellow variety. It was for the sake of comparison!

Chartreuse is crafted by the Carthusians, a French monastic order, and the recipe is famously kept secret. Word on the internet notes that it’s made with a laundry list of botanicals, and that theory bears out in the tasting. Yellow chartreuse is more mellow than the green variety; it’s still herbal, but it’s also a little sweeter. If you’re looking for a non-cocktail arrangement, I can see this as a minor accompaniment to a homemade salad dressing.

I haven’t been drinking alcohol with any regularity (which is part of why I never update this blog). But April was, if not the cruelest month, a period of heightened intensity, and so I embarked upon this creative endeavor. Little did I know that this cocktail would be a fairly apt embodiment of April and its obligations: it nearly knocked me flat.


Reposado tequila (I used Herredura, an anejo tequila, which is probably too nice to mix with, but: it’s what I have!)
St. Germain
Yellow Chartreuse
Bitters (The recipe calls for orange bitters, which I don’t have, and so I used a combo of angostura and Bitterman’s Boston Bittahs)


Shaken, served up. The recipe is from the website Punch, which is in turn adapted from the book Speakeasy, by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric.


The name of this cocktail is presumably derived from the insect of the same name, on the basis of its brilliant color and overall intensity (as in, “stings like”). Allow me to elaborate: this cocktail was very strong, especially to a person with my weak constitution. Usually when I try a new cocktail, I use the recipe proportions but convert it to tablespoons in lieu of full ounces. I did not do that here, and I ended up putting half of the drink in a jam jar and to save for a later occasion.

Texts to a friend, upon review, read “it was delicious but SO STRONG.” Don’t worry, this was before 9 p.m. on a weekend; I’m not a monster.

The St. Germain is sweet and floral, and the chartreuse adds a bit of backbone to that flavor: a hint of bitterness and an herbal underpinning. Combined with the tequila, the overall flavor was slightly smoky, fruity, and full. I’d be curious to try this cocktail with orange bitters instead of my imprecise, Frankenstein-esque cobbling of similar bitters, but I’d rate it as an overall success.