Last night was, well, hairy. Which means this morning couldn’t be worse. We’re here to help. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week, we go to the mountaintop, for an old French liqueur and return with a medicinal cure that won’t go down like medicine.
HER ELIXER: Gordon’s Cup
ITS HISTORY: High in the French Alps two monks make the oldest and most mysterious liqueur known to man: Chartreuse. The 400-year-old spirit is a combination of distilled alcohol, sugar and 130 botanicals. While the exact recipe remains top secret—the only two men alive who know the formula have taken a vow of silence—plants and herbs believed to be in the elixir include allspice, anise, cloves, citrus, cinnamon, licorice, rosemary, saffron and thyme. Chartreuse, defined by its color, comes in two varieties, green (110 proof) and yellow (80 proof).
ITS HEALING POWERS: Schimek believes the mythical liqueur is indispensible to any good bar. “Chartreuse is the mother tincture to end all tinctures,” she says. “It’s a sweet, very herbaceous magical thing that helps us all live long lives and keep on drinking.” Well, that could be a stretch, but there’s only one way to find out if she’s right.
She adds the medicinal spirit to her favorite restorative cocktail: a Gordon’s Cup. Based on the early 20th century Gordon’s Cocktail, the neoclassical Cup is a muddled mix of cucumber, lime, gin, sugar, smoked salt, pepper and Green Chartreuse. “It’s the combination of sweet and savory and sour all together,” she says. “It’s just heaven.”
HOW QUENTIN TARANTINO DESCRIBES CHARTREUSE (As Warren the bartender in Death Proof): “Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a color after it.”
THE METHOD: Muddle cucumber and lime in a cocktail shaker. Add simple syrup, gin, a pinch of salt, fresh-cracked pepper, and a few ice cubes. Shake. Dump into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a bar spoon of Green Chartreuse and another dash of salt and pepper.
Alyson Sheppard is a contributing editor at Playboy Digital. Her work has appeared in Maxim, Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, and more. Follow her on Twitter @amshep.