To be honest, there's really only one ingredient worth battling over: the Chartreuse, green vs. yellow. There's only one Cognac on Vermont shelves within my acceptable price range, i.e. under $30 for a 750 ml bottle: Salignac. My wife is inclined to push the limit up a little but particularly in light of how expensive Chartreuse is, I feel one should be more frugal with the other ingredients. If we start drinking Cognac straight, I might feel differently. With lemons, I'm not likely to go beyond what we already have on hand. With syrup, I could futz around more with making my own but I've found most of what I make gets tossed for lack of use. The store-bought stuff tastes fine and is also more shelf stable. So, the Chartreuse battle is really the only one we need...
Chartreuse Battle: Green vs. Yellow
As discussed in my previous post on the cocktail, there are substantive differences between green and yellow Chartreuse, beyond the color. The green has a higher alcohol content at 110 proof. The yellow is sweeter and weighs in at 80 proof. Side by side in the drink, both are perfectly lovely. The added sugar content of the yellow is definitely noticeable. We both gave the green a slight edge because less sugar allows for a more complex flavor, truly the whole fun of Chartreuse to begin with.
Winner and Champion: Green Chartreuse
Here's our all-star lineup for The Champs-Élysées:
Stirrings Simple Syrup
Next up, sidecars!