It all started one night in early summer. A lovely night out with the Mister at the very sexy and very hard to get a table at the last minute restaurant, Freemans, down Freeman's alley. I arrived early, to secure a table, and was seated at the bar while I awaited Mark, who was running late. Tired of the same story that begins with wine, I decided to write something new.. something bold. So I ordered the Brandy Daisy.
Life hasn't been the same since!
I immediately found it my responsibility to secure the recipe. Easily enough done. Just googled the restaurants name, found the recipe. Finding that it calls for Chartreuse, I took it upon myself to find some. But what luck. My dear friend Nick Sullivan happened to have a bottle. While this recipe called for Yellow, the one Nick gave me said Chartreuse V.E.P. Not knowing what that meant, I had to look it up. Nothing slips by me!
I discovered that V.E.P (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé) is made using the same processes and the same secret formula as the traditional liqueur, and with an extra long ageing in oak casks it reaches an exceptional quality.
Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur made by the Carthusian monks in the French Alps. Only three monks from the order know the secret recipe, and each hold one third of that recipe and have taken a vow of silence. The liqueur was originally created as an "Elixir of Long Life" in 1605 by Peres Chartreux.
I could go on and on about it. But basically, green and yellow chartreuse have 130 herbs from the french alps, and each differ in their variety. Chartreuse Yellow is only 86 proof and has a distinct citrus, violet and honey taste accented by anise, licorice and saffron, while green is 110 proof and has an intense floral and herbal flavor with hints of cloves, citrus, thyme, rosemary and cinnamon. The V.E.P version, has a mixture of both (very top secret) but aged for a longer period of time. Similar to their younger counterparts, but are more mellow. Each bottle of V.E.P. is carefully closed by hand with a wax sealed cork, labeled with a wax Chartreuse seal and placed in a wooden box marked with a branding iron. Bottles of Chartreuse V.E.P. retail for $123 per liter.
Mine was free! WOO HOO. Now I'm spoiled rotten!
Ashley Greene, created the Brandy Daisy cocktail at Freemans. And while it's no longer on the menu, as the menu is seasonal, I found it to fulfill my summer afternoons, and looking forward to it through winter as well. I did substitute the yellow chartreuse for V.E.P... and I have to say, it was superb!
1 1/2 ounces Brandy
1/2 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce maple syrup
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
End of Freeman Alley, New York NY 10002 (between Bowery and Chrystie; map)