Cocktails can be rich and rugged like a Manhattan, or crisp and sharp like a martini, or bright and tangy like a daiquiri (they can also be sweet and murky like a Bahama Mama, but we won't go there right now). But with the holiday season approaching, your taste buds might feel the need for something with a little more elegance—that's where the French come in.
Composed of two great Gallic spirits (cognac and the herbal liqueur Chartreuse) along with some lemon juice and bitters, the Champs Elysees is the ne plus ultra of elegant cocktails. The Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930 lists a party-size recipe for this drink, which is good billing for its powers as a social lubricant. Fortunately the recipe is easily scaled-down. This one (from Food & Wine's 2008 cocktail guide) was adapted by bartenders at Zig Zag Café in Seattle, who deploy a Champs Élysées anytime a little elegance is needed.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
- 1 1/2 ounces cognac
- 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 ounce simple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.