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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twelve Squared: a cocktail with 144 botanicals

144 Botanicals in a single cocktail? How can you fit that many herbs, fruits, and vegetables into a glass? Where does that number come from? Last Friday, a new bottle of Green Chartreuse® was serendipitously placed next to a bottle of Lillet® Blanc, leading to the question: what recipes contain both Chartreuse and Lillet? A search with Google said there were not too many. There was, however, an intriguing one for a Chartreuse Martini on Colleen’s Cocktail Blog that sounded good. On first taste, it seemed like the Chartreuse and Lillet overpowered the Bombay Sapphire® Gin from my bar, which led to a decision to play around with the proportions and garnish to see what would develop. Doubling the gin and substituting an orange twist for olives produced the surprisingly delicious Twelve Squared cocktail that is documented below. But, you are asking, where did that gross of botanicals come from?

Some Chartreuse label reading that same night resulted in the discovery that Chartreuse contains 130 botanicals (the list is “secret”). Bombay Sapphire’s distinctive bottle features line drawings of ten botanicals, five on each side, all labeled (no secrets there). The numbers were adding up, so what about the Lillet? Lillet (on their web site, there’s no info on the bottle) admits to three kinds of oranges in addition to quinine and several kinds of wine and then throws in an “etc.”, so let’s credit Lillet with at least eight botanicals, and probably more. Subtract out a few probable duplicates, and let’s call the total 144 botanicals. That’s quite a cocktail.

Twelve Squared Cocktail

½ oz Green Chartreuse

½ oz Lillet Blanc

2 oz Bombay Sapphire® Gin

Combine ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Stir briskly for 45-60 seconds, until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Using a knife, zester, or peeler, cut an orange twist over the glass so any oils spray into the glass. Rub the twist around the lip of the glass and drop it in. As you savor this cocktail, be sure to contemplate both the bouquet and the taste, savor those botanicals.

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