Monthly Archives: March 2015

Drink of the Week: Chartreuse Swizzle

It seems ages ago that Blake and I visited San Francisco for a working (for me) holiday (for him) where we joined active tours by day and enjoyed delicious cocktails by night. Because I’m dreaming of another trip, and also because my Three Days in San Francisco story is coming right up in the April issue of WestJet Magazine, I decided to revisit the City by the Bay’s delicious drinks for this week’s post. (Ask any bartender what’s the top cocktail city in North America and it will likely be a toss up between New York and San Francisco.)

Forget the Golden Gate Bridge, let's talk about San Francisco's cocktails. Photo by Blake Ford.

Forget the Golden Gate Bridge, let’s talk about San Francisco’s cocktails. Photo by Blake Ford.


We started our initiation into the city’s cocktail culture on Avital Tours’ Union Square Cocktail Tour, which takes thirsty travellers to some great bars in the city centre. Guide Zev Keppleman kept us entertained while we learned about San Fran’s signature cocktail, the Pisco Punch, at Cantina, and sipped our way through a Sazerac at Tradition and a Chartreuse Swizzle at Clock Bar.

The Chartreuse Swizzle is a great introduction to Green Chartreuse, a liqueur made from a staggering 130 herbs and plants.

The Chartreuse Swizzle is a great introduction to Green Chartreuse, a liqueur made from 130 herbs and plants. Photo by Lisa Kadane.

On its own Green Chartreuse has a strong, assertive flavour that’s at first sip sweet, but then becomes spicy and pungent as it expands across the palate. It makes interesting cocktails, and I really liked it in the Chartreuse Swizzle. The Velvet Falernum added an exotic sweetness, the lime a hit of tart and the pineapple juice rounded it out nicely. Blake could’ve just sipped it straight.

Our trip carried on with more cocktail bars, including the famous Trick Dog (in itself deserving of a post…), but the Chartreuse Swizzle stayed with me as a great introduction to San Francisco’s cocktail scene.

Chartreuse Swizzle, Clock Bar at The Westin, San Francisco

  • 1.25 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 0.5 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice

Method: Shake, strain into a rocks glass filled with shaved ice, garnish with nutmeg and mint.

— Created by Marco Dionysos


The Hall of Fame

We finally made it to Anju. Not only does this Korean small plates restaurant on 17th Ave. S.W. have tasty bites to eat (the Crispy Tofu is amazing!), the cocktails are good, too. Many have an Asian bent, thanks to the use of ingredients such as black sesame syrup, yujacha (a Korean citrus tea) and ginseng bitters.

I loved The Hall of Fame, a bourbon-based cocktail with lemon juice, dry curaçao and Yellow Chartreuse. The game changer is the Korean Plum Syrup; it adds a unique sweet flavour that rounds out the drink. It’s a bit complicated to make at home (recipe below), but now you know where to order it!

Another great winter cocktail, with bourbon and Korean plum syrup.

Another great winter cocktail, with bourbon and Korean plum syrup.

The Hall of Fame

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • .5 oz dry curaçao
  • .25 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz Korean Plum Syrup*
  • Lemon twist garnish

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Korean Plum Syrup

  • Korean plum tea (available at Korean markets)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup marmalade-like jam (available at Korean markets)

Method: Steep tea in hot water. Add jam and combine until a syrup-like consistency is achieved (you may have to add a bit more hot water).

— Recipe courtesy Anju