29 Nov Green With Envy: Chartreuse and Voiron

[caption id="attachment_2327" align="alignnone" width="660"] Who wouldn't want to live here?[/caption] Hidden in the Chartreuse Mountains, Carthusian monks have been producing a spirit since 1605 within the sacred halls of the Grande Chartreuse Monastery (established in 1084!). Although visitors are prohibited from entering the monastery, they can tour a museum dedicated to the Carthusian monks and nuns located just off the monastery grounds. In Voiron, you’ll learn the difficulties the monks have faced throughout the history of their order (including expulsion from France by the government, twice) and their struggle to serve both God and humanity. While Chartreuse may look pretty, it packs a punch. The standard “green chartreuse” bottle boasts a proof of 110, a solid 10-15% stronger than most commercial alcohols. It’s especially evident while tasting the spirit; many drinks call for a dash of Chartreuse due to its strong flavor. While the alcohol content contributes to the distinctive taste, it’s those 130 extracts that lend the zest, creating liquor that first tastes sweet, but soon becomes spicy. It’s difficult to describe, but impossible to confuse once you taste it. Just ask its creators, the Carthusian monks. After hearing the tales of the monks, it’s time to taste the fruits of their labor. You’ll be given a complementary tasting of their famous spirit. You can choose between the traditional “green” distillation, or a milder, sweeter “yellow” varietal, which gains its lighter color and mellower taste through the addition of cumin. While I certainly can’t tell...

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