Sips of the Season

First Republic Bank
December 7, 2021

Please note, the content of this webinar is suitable for those over the age of 21. 

In this spirited event master mixologist Blake Tucker creates festive cocktails you can make at home this holiday season. Learn the history of and recipes for three signature cocktails that are sure to impress your guests at your next celebration. To follow along during the event, here are the recipes and instructions for the three cocktails Blake will be demonstrating. 

Read below for a full transcript of the conversation. 

Dave Breslin - Good afternoon and good evening everyone. My name is Dave Breslin, senior vice president and regional business leader with First Republic Private Wealth Management. Thank you all for joining us at our Sips of the Season Event. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing our guest Blake Tucker. Blake is an expert in all classes of libations and experience from end-to-end in the industry. For 20 years he has worked with makers and distillers, formulating recipes, filling bottles, and finding customers. With this knowledge and restaurant background, Blake brings a deep understanding of beverage taste, flavor and pairing. He's had speaking engagements, both on television and industry events around the Bay Area, like the Exploratorium Science of Cocktails and the Tech Company Founders Networks annual summit. Blake created the beverage program at Taste Catering and was an essential part of the Hospitality Helps program, which fed those in need during the worst part of the pandemic.

Today, Blake often appears as Dr. Inkwell, the founder of Boozephreaks. Since 2009, Boozephreaks has brought people in the San Francisco Bay Area together to learn about their libations, meet their local distillers and share the international culture of spirits. As Dr. Inkwell, Blake was the host of the In the Know Spirits segment on local TV program "CHN-Now" and has hosted numerous educational cocktail events throughout the Bay Area. Passionate about helping consumers understand the culture, history and formulation of their drinks. Blake's catchphrase is "I don't want you to drink more. I want you to drink well." You can find Blake's cocktail videos on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube at Boozephreaks. Before we start, just a quick housekeeping note, you're welcome to submit questions at any time during the session. To submit a question, please use the Q&A icon at the bottom of the screen. We'll try to answer as many questions live during the session. Also, this event is being recorded and the replay will be posted on First Republic's website. With that, I welcome Blake Tucker. Take it away Blake.

Blake Tucker - Thank you Dave. Hello everyone. I'm Dr. Inkwell and I don't want you to drink more, I want you to drink well, get it? Thanks for joining me today. I am going to demonstrate three cocktails. If you are following along and want to make these cocktails, get all of your equipment around you, you will need a coupe or an old fashioned glass, a martini glass, or a cocktail glass like this. An old fashioned glass will also work for the second drink. And then the third drink is a hot drink so you want some kind of coffee mug or, you know, cool mug like this. So I have a few cameras. I have a lot of ways to really show you what I'm doing today, but now is your chance to grab all of your stuff. We're going to start off right with a cocktail. I want to get a drink in your hand immediately. And then I'll tell you a little bit about me. So we will start with a little agenda. We're going to start with the Cranberry Ginger Gimlet. So you'll need gin, lemon juice, cranberry, and ginger syrup for that. I'll tell you a little bit about me and then we'll make the Pumpkin Spice Nog, which is always a holiday favorite. And then I will take you on a little trip to France and we'll explore Chartreuse and I'll tell you a little bit about that liqueur, where it comes from, and then we'll make a really delightful Grande Chaude, a little French Chartreuse hot chocolate. Finally, I am going to give you some holiday bottle recommendations if you're looking to shop for a friends and family that might enjoy or enjoy fine spirits, and then, you know, there'll be a chance for Q&A and interruption all the way along. But one other note, I do have a camera there and a screen here. So forgive my eyeline for bouncing around a little bit, but I'm here with you.

So let's start off with a Cranberry Ginger Gimlet. So I'm actually going to transform this. You can see, we need gin, lemon juice, cranberry, and ginger syrup. And let me switch to a view where you can really see what I'm going on. I do have a few different cameras here and they're all live so you can really see what I'm doing. I'm going to start off here with a small side shaker. Hopefully you have a two-part shaker like this. These are really great for American style cocktails. The small side shaker is where we'll start today and we want two ounces of gin to start with. So I'm using this 209 Gin, it's made locally in San Francisco. This is a contemporary really spice forward gin and the spice works really great with cranberry and ginger in this drink. So I'm going to do two ounces here of this gin. There's one and two, and then we'll get three quarters of an ounce of lemon juice. I use often this Santa Cruz Organic lemon juice. This is really great stuff if you're not juicing lemons immediately at the bar. And then we'll also need one half of an ounce of cranberry juice. Just the Ocean Spray standard is totally fine. If you use an unsweetened cranberry juice, you may want to pump up the syrup just a tiny bit, maybe a quarter of an ounce 'because the straight up cranberry juice can be quite dry. So I've got half an ounce of cranberry in that.

And then hopefully you saw the preparation recipe and how to make ginger syrup. This is just a simple ginger syrup, very easy to make on your own, you just need some fresh ginger, sugar and water. So I'm going to do three quarters of an ounce of that. And then if you don't know a little bit about the science of making cocktails, first we're going to add some ice to the shaker here. Ooh, here we go. One, two, three, four and we got ice cube that strayed. There we are. All right. And now when you shake with a two-part shaker like this, what you actually want to do is to put the two pieces together so you get this nice straight line on one side and then give it two taps, that forms an initial seal and what happens here is actually the freezing point of ethanol and the freezing point of water are actually very, very different. And so the reason that we shake cocktails is actually to reach an equilibrium point.

There's a point at which the ice melts and chills the liquid, but actually reaches a point where the liquid gets so cold that the ice cannot melt anymore. That actually happens with cocktails because of the interesting properties of ice itself. That's important because it reaches stabilization in the liquid and also in shaking versus stirring. With shaking, we're adding about 15% more water when we shake a cocktail. So there is quite a difference and formulation definitely is important in terms of how much water you expect to add, whether it's a shaken or stirred type of drink. So my little nod to James Bond there is, you know, he's always shaking his martinis which is really not the way you would make a martini because it's really a stirred drink, but he's adding a little extra water because he's working right. He doesn't want to be drunk. So once you've shaken that, we're going to, if you haven't shaken before, it's good to hold the ends of the shaking vessel. And we're just going to shake to reach that equilibrium point for about 14 seconds. So here we go. All right. So once we've done that, these nice metal shakers are great because you can squeeze them to open them very easily. And then we're going to strain this, so let me go to a little different camera view so you get a little bit more of a nice view of what I'm doing here.

Again, I'm using a coupe for this. That's a nice bowl on top of a stem, and I'm going to fine strain this drink. You don't need to do this, but I prefer this without those little ice chips. So a little fine strain like this, and you can see here a little Cranberry Ginger Gimlet. Voila. And then we need a garnish. We need a beautiful garnish, so just a couple of cranberries floating on top is really wonderful. If you want to take the time to actually go and maybe decorate one with, you can see I studded this one with cloves, makes for a fun, seasonal little festive moment there on top of the drink. And let me just pour this guy in there since he's the only one left. And voila, we have a beautiful Cranberry Ginger Gimlet, let me see if I can give you a nice view from the side here so you can see it. Voila, cheers everyone. I hope you enjoy this.

It should bring out a little spice, a little sourness. I love this. It reminds me of Thanksgiving and a little bit of cranberry sauce. The ginger really interacts really nicely there. I hope you enjoy that. All right. Let me tell you a little bit about me. Oops, let's get to that view. There we go. So I go by Dr. Inkwell, as I said, because I don't want you to drink more, I want you to drink well. My company called Boozephreaks is really patterned after Herb Caen. If you're a San Francisco fan or know anything about the history of San Francisco, he was a columnist in the San Francisco Chronicle. He wrote, basically he was such a fun and entertaining writer that they gave him a freewheeling column and he could write about whatever he wanted. So he would write a daily, weekly column and just talk about San Francisco and people that he would run into. He loved his, drink called Vitamin V, that's what he called it, which was basically a Stoli vodka spritzer that he drank out of a wine glass. But one of the things in his column that was recurring is he would run into people whose names were oddly appropriate for what they did. So he met a woman in city hall who took old deeds and old marriage certificates when people got divorced and she actually stamped them canceled and her name was Nancy Canceller.

He met electrician once whose name was Bob Shock. So he would love to collect these names and he would call them namephreaks. So he would say this week, here's the namephreaks I ran into. And then he would talk about these local people who had funny names. So that was my inspiration to become Dr. Inkwell, because I don't want you to drink more, I want you to drink well. So you can see the logo here is really a direct take from Herb Caen. I love the font that he used and that city skyline that he would run as part of his column. And so I did that with a couple of cocktail apparatus. I've even put it on some cocktail shakers and other glassware and stuff. It's a lot of fun to do that. And I encourage you to adopt your own Boozephreaks name. Some of the folks who have joined me at distillery tours where people get name tags, so they get to meet lots of strangers.

Some of those folks have come up with great names like Ryan Bitters and Juan Treau and some other fun cocktail pun kind of names. I'm a big pun fan. So that's where that comes from. I have spoken at the Exploratorium Science of Cocktails. I love that event. If you have not checked that out, do check it out. It's a really great and entertaining way to learn more about your spirits. All right, let's talk about drink number two. So for the second drink, if you're doing that one, I'm making a Pumpkin Spice Nog. So I really love this drink because it is really inspired by pumpkin spice season, but it's a way to make an individual nog in one container, you don't have to buy eggnog. I've really kind of reverse engineered how to make eggnog. And it makes for a really, really lovely drink. So again, you'll need a martini glass or a coupe for this, or even an old fashioned glass that will work fine. And we're going to start with mixing these things together.

So this does use an egg white, you can use just a container of pasteurized egg whites, that works fine. A fresh egg is also really wonderful in this drink. And in terms of rum, this actually works very well with a spiced rum. This is kind of a generic spiced rum that I have, I think it came from Costco, but I think the spiced rums just add more spiciness to this because you may have some variation in whatever pumpkin butter you're using. I love this pumpkin butter from Trader Joe's for this cocktail, but you can also use regular pumpkin puree and a little bit of syrup. The ginger syrup that we made for the first drink is actually a great sweetener for that if you're going to do that. If you do do pumpkin puree and syrup, then I would measure out half an ounce of pumpkin puree in your container and pour some of that ginger syrup in there, because you are going to need to loosen that up.

It's going to be a little bit chunky and we'll have an opportunity to do something like that because we are going to dry shake this cocktail and I'll talk about that in one second. So we'll start with two ounces of rum. A dark rum would work in this. You know, the only thing I wouldn't probably use for this drink is an agricole rum, which is a much more grassy kind of rum, but, well that's two ounces of rum. And let me jump back over here so that you can see what I'm doing. There we go, that's much better. All right. So I got two ounces of rum in there, and then I'm going to do three quarters of an ounce of maple syrup. Maple syrup fortunately, is loose enough that you don't need to mix it with water or anything in advance. You might have to do that with honey for example, if you know anything about the bar. All right, and now we're going to do one to two tablespoons of pumpkin butter. It really depends on how pumpkiny you want it to be. I am going to do, yeah, pretty close to two. I like a little extra pumpkin flavor in there. That does sweeten it up a little bit, but it shouldn't be too much. If you find this to be a little sweet on the first take, you can always bring that maple syrup down to about half an ounce.

So I'm just getting some of that pumpkin butter off my spoon here, getting it dissolved in the drink, in the rum, et cetera. And then I'm going to add a quarter ounce of lemon juice. You need just a little bit of citrus to really make the flavor sail here. So I've just got a quarter ounce of lemon juice here. There we go. And half an ounce of cream. So you do need some heavy whipping cream, something like that. Hopefully you'll have that around in the house. This is the holiday times. It's the time to keep that in your house. So I've got half an ounce of cream. That's what combined with the egg whites really makes this give the nice silky texture that you want from an eggnog style cocktail. And then I'm going to do half an ounce of this pasteurized egg white. If you have a large egg, that is almost the same amount, but that would be what you would want to do is just crack an egg, maybe in a separate container so you don't get any egg yolk in the drink and then pour the egg white in here.

So the thing we want to do now is actually grab all of our ingredients and close them in the container without any ice. This is because we really want that egg white to integrate into the liquid. We want it to be one nice fusion, one continuous texture. And that really helps a lot. So I'm going to, again, hold both ends and just gives us a quick shake. It doesn't need to be for very long, but it does need to get shaken up a little bit. That really integrates the texture. You can see that, I think from above here, let me show you that. You can see how much that texture has really integrated. It's like one uniform bit now. So now that we've done that, we do want to add the ice. So that's next. All right. So we'll just add some ice cubes in here. There we go. And again, we want to make a nice straight line on one side, give it two taps to form a seal. If your hands get a little wet, you will need a little towel at the bar, and then we'll grab both ends and we'll shake. I do see a couple of questions, which I will go ahead and address right now. "Could you replace vodka for the gin in that first drink?" You can. You'll be missing a little bit of that spice. I think a little bit of spice really adds a bit to that drink, but you can totally do that with vodka. It should come out still quite nice. All right. So now that I've shaken that I'm going to just strain this into my glass here.

Nice pumpkin color. I've got a little bit of extra. So could I have a seconds if I want to, or get a bigger cup like this. All right. And then for garnish, ideally you have a whole nutmeg pod and a cinnamon stick. So I love to grate these over the top. If you've never had freshly grated nutmeg on your eggnog, it really does make a big difference. And I think that this guy has fallen asleep. Excuse me, turn that back on. So a little bit of nutmeg and a little shaved cinnamon as well, fresh shaved cinnamon really does make a big difference. I also love adding a festive element here of actually putting the cinnamon in the drink and look at that, super fun. Let me go again from the side view so you can see what we're doing here. Here we go. Cheers everyone. I hope you enjoy this. This is really always a holiday favorite. My friends are always telling me, "Hey, are we doing that again this year?" It's quite delicious.

Amy Anstrom - Blake we do have one question from the audience. Can you touch quickly on how to make the spice simple syrup?

Blake - The spice of the ginger simple syrup is essentially, it's fairly easy to make, you just need some fresh ginger and you know, not very much of it. It ends up being about a quarter cup of chopped ginger. I like to chop that ginger into discs. So a piece of ginger root, that's probably about three, four inches long and just chop it into discs. And then when you make the syrup on the stove, you want to get a small pan and you can put in a cup of sugar and a cup of water and turn it on high. And it will, as soon as it starts boiling, you could put that ginger in and then turn it down to simmer and leave it for about eight minutes. Then all you need to do is just to cool it, strain it and bottle it. And voila, you have simple ginger syrup, it's just a simple way to infuse ginger into your syrup. And it does add a little extra to your drinks. It's actually really great in a whiskey sour, if you make those at home, but just a little flavor ginger syrup goes a long way and it works great in this Pumpkin Spice Nog, but is obviously perfect for that cranberry drink.

Hopefully that answers the question. From here, I want to tell you a little bit about Chartreuse, but coming up next, we're going to be doing the hot chocolate drink. So if you need to do some preparation to warm your milk, you can do that on the stove. I think if you do that in the microwave, that's fine. But if you do, I would microwave it for maybe 45 seconds and give it a stir in then microwave it again, it's very easy to get a little bit of a coating on the top of the milk, and you want to prevent that from happening by not cooking it for too long in the microwave. This does really work best with whole milk. The reason being that there's a lot of herbs infused in the Chartreuse, and it just works so much better when you have whole milk in there. You get a little bit of a milk wash, you might call it, in this drink because you're using milk and it just doesn't work as well with water.

So if you want to substitute, I would say like oat milk would be a good alternative if you don't want to do the dairy in the hot chocolate, but that's coming up. Let me tell you a little bit about, actually, I'm going to clear a couple of these things 'because I need them for the Chartreuse hot chocolate. So let me go dump these out. I will be right back at the sink over here, and then we will heat up some milk for the next drink. Alright, there we go. So I'm going to make you a little bit of bartender's a whipped cream. So that's kind of a fun way to make some whipped cream at the bar which will be a great finish for this drink. All right. So Green Chartreuse is definitely the better choice for the next drink. That's really what the history of this drink is. So let's take a look at that. So Chartreuse, so Chartreuse is a really, really interesting spirit. If you've never tasted it, it's a very complex spirit, it's herbaceous and has a lot of different things going on.

It is made by the monks of Chartreux, they're the Carthusian monks, les Peres Chartreux in French, the Carthusian father. So they're a monastic order of the Catholic Church that was founded in 1084. And the fun thing about Chartreuse is it has all this mystique behind it. So the mountain range close to the French and Italian border is called the Chartreuse Mountains. That's where they got their name. They named their monastery the Grande Chartreuse after that. And that's where the name of the liqueur came from. It was the Chartreuse liqueur because it was from that area of the mountains. And in fact, the color Chartreuse is named for the liqueur. The liqueur has such a deep, wonderful green color, that it was such a unique color that that became the name of a color. So it's kind of a little fun factoid for you. "Could oat milk work in the holiday eggnog," I do see that question, "Instead of cream?" Yes, I do think that it would work. You can kind of make a dairy free version of that. I do think oat milk is probably the best choice there.

Maybe a whole almond milk would work too, but oat milk is definitely the better choice. I find oat milk is a much better substitute for milk, just because it's got a little bit of that umami and body that you need, especially in a drink like that. So Chartreuse. So in 1605, the Marshal d'Estrees, the Marshall in France, gave to the monks the secret recipe that he had been holding. And it was a secret recipe for a liqueur that was supposed to give you long life. So this recipe was given to the monks in 1605, and they were still kind of wandering through Europe and trying to find a home. And so it wasn't until 1840 that they really secured the Green Chartreuse recipe. They had tried to make it in the 1700s and, you know, they were they're poor monks, right? So they were not a rich company. It took them a while to gather the equipment and decide to actually try to make this stuff. And they were a really local phenomenon, right, in the area of Voiron which is sort of a mountain town in that area of Eastern France, close to the Italian border. And they were known for, once they made the Green Chartreuse known for like, "Oh, this liqueur really helps you."

Especially through, there was a bout of consumption that went through the area. And then, you know, there was the pandemic of the early 20th century and those times it was Chartreuse that really helped people. And so it's got this reported curative property and part of that is because it's infused with 130 different herbs. So in terms of the other things you drink at the bar that are infused with herbs and vermouth and amaro are infused with lots of herbs, sometimes maybe 20 to 30 herbs, but not 130, 130 is a lot. And that gives Chartreuse a really deep complexity that makes it very interesting. It doesn't use a lot of bitterness and you get bitterness in amaro and vermouth all my amaros and vermouths over here on the left, which is what I keep referring to. And so, because it doesn't have bitterness, it just has this herbaceous, like deep, rich flavor and the actually the original recipe that they got in 1605 is about 70 ingredients. So Brother Bruno, Frere Bruno, he was the one who really pushed the recipe and found out how to make it taste delicious.

The original manuscript that they got in 1605 was not necessarily a super delicious liqueur. And interestingly, it was red. When you make that recipe, it's a red liqueur. And so Brother Bruno figured out how to give it a nicer color. One of the ways they actually make this liqueur is not just with one, if you know anything about liqueur making, there's a base spirit, so maybe a high strength vodka or brandy, they use a brandy for this product. So the high proof brandy, and then you will infuse it with flavors. With gin making you actually infuse it with flavors and then redistill it. That's what makes gin clear. So Chartreuse has a combination of these two things. So they do some redistillation where they take some of these herbs and then redistill them so they get a pure flavored brandy, almost like a lavender brandy if you've seen that, something like that. And then they combine all of these macerations where they're using the liqueur to extract flavor from the herbs, along with the redistillations and all these things come together to make Chartreuse.

They also actually barrel-age them. And I'll show you some slides here that do that. So the barrels are a big part of this. If you know anything about whiskey making with barrel-aged whiskeys, especially American whiskeys, you can only use that barrel when it's new. Once you've had a spirit in it for a couple of years, you cannot reuse it and technically it's not bourbon or rye anymore. And Chartreuse is the opposite, they want to continue that flavor for consistency. Since, you know, they make this in large volume and they make it over the course of many years, so that aging in the barrel, and you can see how big these barrels are. And I'll show you another slide that's a little closer up, but the barrels are big and they reuse them. So that brings some consistency to the product as well. So the Green Chartreuse is a 55% ABV, the yellow is 40, or 43 if you have a newer bottle, they've reformulated it slightly. They pumped it up to 43 just because of cocktail trends. And it just does a little bit better at that strength. So let me show you some slides here. So in 2015, I was able to get to Voiron and actually go to the distillery.

The distillery was in Voiron, this is the actual production facility when I was there. They have since moved, there's been, a lot at the town has grown up around them and now with e-regulations and stuff, they can't be too close to schools and residences and stuff. So the monks unfortunately, were forced to move yet again, they've had a very storied history there in terms of where they've been able to make this product. And so they're not in Voiron anymore, they're in Aiguenoire, which is, you know, very close, but just down the road. So this is the tasting room, these little arches here in the photo, that's the actual tasting room. And they used to make this product, so in the early 20th century, like 1903 or something like that, there was a lot of anti-religious sentiment in France, and they were forced to give up their property.

So they actually had to leave France, the government took over their monastery and their distillery, and they were forced to move. So they were Terragona in Spain for a brief time, for about 30 years. And when they came back in the '40s they moved to another distillery just down the road from here. And they were only there for about three years before they had a big landslide. So the archway entrance of that distillery you can see here is still in the parking lot there in the Voiron place. So, you know, when I pulled up, I didn't know all the history of Chartreuse. So I was like, "Oh, that's funny. It says Chartreuse on the van and there's this like arch, I don't know what the arch is, so." The arch is the actual entranceway to that place that was destroyed by a landslide. So lots of fun history, if you don't know about Chartreuse, because it's so old and it's a really complex liqueur. So after the 1840s, they started, you know, getting interest around the country in France for their liqueur, because it had these reputed curative qualities.

This is also the rise of international intellectual property and law enforcement and that sort of thing. And so very slowly, they realized they needed to start enforcing that because there were so many imitators out there and they have this amazing display of Chartreuse imitators at the distillery and tourist center. And you can see, like, these are all fake Chartreuse's made around the world. They're there in all languages. I saw so many interesting things there. So you should definitely get yourself to France next year if you can. This is the stills. I was the only one on my tour when I was there 'because I went on like a Tuesday and these are the stills where they make the smaller pieces of Chartreuse, the individual redistillation of each herb, that sort of thing is, Oh, I see a question there. "Do you think Chartreuse is sweetened if it's not bitter?" It is definitely sweetened. They use honey as part of their sweetening agents. I think it's not exclusively honey, but it is mostly honey. And in terms of bitter flavors like what you get bitterness out of vermouth and amaros, those bitternesses are often from cinchona bark or quinquina, that's a particular bark from South America that provides a bitter flavor and is a really important element to those things, Chartreuse doesn't use those. So it doesn't have a natural bitterness to it. It's just herbaceousness 'because they use a lot of different things.

They originally, one of the first things that they called this was the liqueur of Melissa. So if you know a little bit about botany, Melissa officinalis is called today lemon balm and lemon balm is the chief flavor in Chartreuse. If you make yourself a lemon balm liqueur actually, in the same way that we made the ginger liqueur, a little cup of sugar, a cup of water. And then, you know, maybe a couple of tablespoons of dried lemon balm, or even a quarter cup, if you wanted to and let that simmer for a second, you'll get that note that's like, "Oh, this reminds me of Chartreuse," because lemon balm is one of the chief ingredients, but they redistill, as I say, so it's not as easy to undo and they've kept this recipe secret for more than 400 years. So it's pretty impressive that they've been able to do that. And it speaks a little bit to how they operate.

Only two monks there know the full recipe. And when they get to a certain point in the making of the Chartreuse, all of the helpers, all of the people who are helping them run the stills and, you know, do the bottling lines and all that stuff. All those people are given the day off. And the two monks that know get together and they do all of the work to actually put those ingredients together and to make the right thing and get it into that barrel so it can start barrel aging. So, you know, fascinating, fascinating history. This is the actual, you know, barrels that they use. You can see how big they are. As the Chartreuse ages, and it does age a variable amount. It gets to the right point where it tastes correct. So there is a whole tasting element that some of the monks are the head of. When it tastes correct, that's when it's taken out. So it's not a fixed time like a whiskey would be. And when they notice that one of these barrels is just getting better and tasting better, they'll leave it in there. Those barrels of Chartreuse end up getting marked and sold differently. They're the VEP bottles if you've ever seen them. I will show you a couple of fun things that I have here. The VEP is called, I think it's very, essentially in English, a Very Exceptional Prolonged Chartreuse, which is to say it's been aged a bit longer and so it's got a little bit more complexity. So Green Chartreuse was the original sort of formulation that they came up with in 1840.

And then, you know, because they were adding so many herbs, another of the Brothers was messing around with the original recipe and they realized they could make a White Chartreuse. And so they made that for about 30 years, I believe. And they also came up with a Yellow Chartreuse and the Yellow Chartreuse did actually get some traction. It's a little bit lower in alcohol, it's a lot more herbaceousness, it's spicier is what I would say and generally you do want to be thoughtful about which one you're using the green or the yellow if you're using it in cocktails. Green is generally the one that we used in most cocktails, but yellow is really great if you use it with similar ingredients like Yellow Chartreuse and rye and a Manhattan with a little bit of vermouth that is a really fun thing called a Diamondback I believe. And I do find that limes and lemons work with both of them to answer that question.

Does Chartreuse have an expiration date? It doesn't. So there are a few bars around the country, San Francisco and New York that, Chartreuse continues to age because of 130 herbs infused in it, it continues to get interesting and different over the years. So there's a few bars that specialize in aged Chartreuses. So in New York, there's a bar called Pouring Ribbons and I tasted a 1969 bottle of Chartreuse there. And they're really interesting. I mean, they all have the Chartreusey flavor, but different notes get emphasized. If you think about what's actually happening in barrel aging, you have a base spirit that is made from something, let's say, in bourbon it's made from predominantly corn and maybe have secondary grains of rye and barley. So those three grains have a particular flavor and they bring to the spirit those flavor notes, there's actually little compounds embedded in the ethanol, are hidden in the ethanol, that make that flavor. And then when it interacts with a burned barrel, a charred barrel, that's what you use in whiskey making, the char is charcoal, right? So it's actually removing some of that flavor, but also as it gets warm and cold, that liquor's entering the wood and exiting the wood. And so that's actually extracting flavor from the wood as well. So your end point with a whiskey is that you are both combining the flavor of the grains that you made it with with the barrel that you age it in. So that's why American barrels and French barrels can be very different because the types of wood that grow in those locations are actually a little bit different. They're still oak, but the subspecies have different phenolic compounds and other things that influence the flavor of the whiskey because of that interaction. So with Chartreuse, we're having a similar thing, the barrel after dozens, sometimes hundreds of years, some of these barrels are very old. They've been embedded with the Chartreuse flavor.

And so when you put a new Chartreuse in, you're interacting with the wood, but you're also extracting a little bit of that flavor from the previous thing that was in there. So that's how they get a bit of consistency with that. I cannot remember the name of the bar that has the Chartreuse. I think it's the, the, I think it's out on Polk Street. It's a really nice bar on Polk Street. Anyway, I'll have to look that up and we will follow up with an email since that is escaping me at the moment. "Will this be available for replay?" Yes, we are going to record this, so it will be on the First Republic website. "Flavor details are all very interesting, do you have a favorite cocktail recipe book?" Yes, I will come to that. So let me move along here and say the next part. This is the, so I mentioned that the Carthusian monks are the ones who created this liqueur, this is the headquarters. This is the Grande Chartreuse. This is right there in that area. It's about 45 minutes from their new distillery in Aiguenoire. I believe you can actually go to, they have I think a gift shop there.

So you can actually go and, you know, check it out, but they have closed the place I showed you earlier in Voiron, you know, they moved right before the pandemic and then they've been relocating operations and getting all of that working. They closed the Voiron area. That tasting room is still open, but there's an entire tour that you can take. If you want to spend the whole time to read everything, it'd probably take you like three hours. I think I was there for four because I'm such a Chartreuse nerd. They're revamping all of that. So it opens in the spring of 2022. So it's just a few months from now, it'll be reopened and you can go and do this amazing tour and learn about the monks and how they make this liqueur. It's super fascinating. I found it super cool because of the length. I mean, if you think about those monks, you know, founding their order in 1084 and then getting this recipe in 1605 and then starting to do something with it in the 1700s, that's 300 years of liquor making and learning, and there's all sorts of stuff to learn when you go and check it out.

So before I get into Chocolat Francais, let me show you some cool things I have got. Let's see, what what's the best view here. So not only do they make Green Chartreuse and Yellow Chartreuse and, you know, the thing that you can see on these, let me switch to this side. So you can see the side here. This is the Yellow Chartreuse. This is actually an older bottling, and you can see it is 40% alcohol. It's 43 now when you buy it in the store, but this is the yellow, as opposed to the green. And I do have another bottle of green. I can show you that beautiful green color here, that you can see how different the colors are. The green, this is, you know, that wonderful Green Chartreuse color that is just so unique and you'll not find in any other spirit or even maybe in any other physical item. It's such a beautiful green color. If you are looking at your Chartreuse bottles and you want to know when they were bottled, you can find that on the very top edge of the little bottling thing. So on this one let me see if I can show you here on this side camera, which has a real close focus point. If you look here, do you see these numbers right here?

Those are the numbers and they number this, they bottle this in a numbering system that is just like a lot of beer manufacturers where the numbers reflect the day and the year. So the first three numbers are always going to start with nine because this bottle of Yellow Chartreuse has 9, 3, 4, and that's 934 years after 1084, the founding of the Carthusian order. So that's how they number it. So 9, 3, 4 I think comes up as 2014, 1084. Yeah. So, and then the next three numbers are 1, 9, 9 for me. That means day number 199 of 365. So it was, you know what, probably August, something like that, maybe September, maybe a little earlier, I can't do that very fast. The 19th day, what month is that? So that's how you find the date on your Chartreuse. It's going to be a little sequence of numbers right at the top of the bottle. So what other things do they make? So you know, when I was in France, I was very excited about going to several of these places. I also went to Benedictine.

I met a bunch of distillers in Alsace, but with Chartreuse, I was like, "I hope they have some other things that I can buy." Well, it turns out they have a ton of things. So they make this beautiful 1605. You cannot buy this in the US, the only things you can get in the US are the Green, Yellow Chartreuse, and the VEPs, which I'll show you in a minute, but they have a commemorative 1605. So this was much closer to the original recipe. So a few fewer herbs, a little bit different flavor. This one is really fascinating, very cool, interesting bottle. They make the VEP. So this is another thing you can buy in the US, it comes in this beautiful box. It has the seven stars in seven locations that they have been making Chartreuse. So Voiron, and I think it's St. Pierre which is where the landslide was and now Aiguenoire. So that represents those. And then there, this is the monastic order, the symbol of the monastic order. So it's the world, the circle is the world and the cross, so the cross remains while the world turns, that's kind of their ideology. So you can see this says on the side of the box, Vieillissement, exceptionnellement, prolonge, so it is very old Chartreuse and inside there's this beautiful Green Chartreuse bottle.

And these are dated as well. They are something like 16, I think this one is 16014 or something like that. So that's 16 means 2016. They date these slightly differently. Oh, it's 10216. Here, You can see this right here. So it says 10216, so day 102 of 2016. That's when this one was bottled. So there is all sorts of aged Chartreuse out there. You can go and dig around like legendary auctions, Sotheby's et cetera, et cetera. There's a couple of other things. This Grande Centenaire, this is their ninth century, liquor of the ninth century. So it's just sort of a fun like version. They have a bunch of different versions out there. And then the one thing that you really need to get if you do go to France, is this amazing Elixir Vegetal. So they will not release this in the US because the FDA requires them to disclose the ingredients. And this is the most secret of the secret.

This is the extract of Chartreuse. So there's no sugar in this. And it's like the finest bitters you could ever find. It's amazing stuff. So check that out if you get a chance, or if you have a friend in France who can bring it to you, let me know 'because I need, I need more. Alright, let's make a hot chocolate. So this hot chocolate is a historic sort of French recipe. I was in Strasbourg, as I mentioned, I was visiting distillers in that area. And in Strasbourg, I went on the tour of the Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Strasbourg that is this beautiful Gothic cathedral. And on the tour, you go up all the stairs, you actually go onto the rooftop right there next to the cloister. And, you know, the thing that shocked me about France was like, why is there graffiti on the inside of all these cathedrals? Like I'm so offended by that, I'm not Catholic, but I was like, how do, what... And then it was on the top of Strasbourg that I realized, like somebody had written their name and the date. And it was like the year 900 or whatever it was. And I was like, "Oh, this is a tradition. People have been defacing churches for eons." And it was so fun to kind of see that anyway, it was super cold that day and I heard other people speaking English and I was like, "Oh, there's Americans here." And so I ended up introducing myself to them and they were like, "Oh, we're going to go."

This is the interior of that beautiful cathedral, definitely check that out, the Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Strasbourg, And we came inside and I took this photo and they were like, "Oh, we're freezing. We're going to go get some hot chocolate." And I was like, "Well, that sounds amazing." And it was there that I first had this drink. So for Chocolat Francais, we need to get our milk hot. So I want you to go ahead and take some time to do that. I'm going to do about 45 seconds twice in a microwave over here, and you'll need a little bit of hot chocolate mix. I really like using this, the powder stuff works, you know, Ghirardelli makes a powder. I think that's totally fine, it works very well. But my favorite type is to use this like shaved chocolate that I find is just a much nicer, higher quality, hot chocolate.

Let's see. I can show you there. There we go. So you can see these are shavings rather than chocolate cocoa powder. All right. So let me go back to this slide so you can see, so we're going to make the hot chocolate with a little bit short milk. I'm using seven ounces here instead of eight, so that I have room for my Chartreuse. And let me stir this a little bit here, get it in, you know, stir that milk after you heat it a little bit, because you don't want to scald the milk. You don't want that to be, to have a little skim, a little scum on the top of the milk. So I've just run that again and you want to get a nice coffee mug, something like that that you can put this in, and then we're going to make some bartenders whipped cream. So let's go ahead and do that. So grab your shaker. And what we're going to do is actually shake the cream in the shaker to make the really soft version of whipped cream that we want on this. We don't want that hard from the hand stirring, you know, spray hot chocolate. We want something a little bit lighter. So I'm going to do a little less whipped.

So I'm going to do two ounces here. So there's one and here's two. And then I'm going to just do a quick dash of syrup. This is just a bit of simple syrup, just adding a little tiny bit to this. I don't think you really need the vanilla here, but we're going to put this together and this again, we're going to do this and shake it without any ice for about 60 seconds. So I'm going to do this while I grab that from the microwave. Of course, if you're making this for a big group or a family, you want to batch that hot chocolate, have a big pitcher, hot pitcher of a hot chocolate, and then you could use a hand mixer or something to whip the whipped cream, but be very gentle. You don't want it to be very stiff. I think it's much better when it's a little bit soft so that when you drink it, it's not a separate thing. It ends up combining with the hot chocolate and giving you a wonderful flavor. So I could go a little bit further with this.

Amy - Blake, we have one question from the audience, "What is your favorite brand of shaved chocolate or are you making it yourself?"

Blake - This shaved chocolate is from Williams-Sonoma actually, I was turned on to them by, you know, a gift from the holidays and was like, "Oh, wow, I really like this stuff." It's so much better than the powdered form, you know, like the Carnation packets or anything like that. So I'm using the Williams-Sonoma one. So now I'm going to take, you know, and I'm following the directions on the Williams-Sonoma, which says about it's about five tablespoons, and then I'm going to pour this hot milk right in here with a little bit of spillage. And I got to leave a little room for Chartreuse. So I've got a little hand mixer here, a little milk-frother that really accelerates this and dissolves that hot chocolate very fast. And of course, because I'm using the shaved stuff, it works very quickly. It's another advantage of not using the other stuff. And I'm a little bit high, so I'm just going to pour off a tiny bit of this and make a big mess, which is why we have a towel. All right. And then from here, I'm going to just grab my Chartreuse and pour in one ounce. So I am going to measure this. I have found that there is a real ratio here. If you have too much Chartreuse, it can be a little bit too much of a bite. And it's much nicer when it's a nice ratio. So where did I put that other bottle? Only three quarters of an ounce in that bottle, so. Adding from this second one.

Amy - Like how much shaved chocolate should be added?

Blake - For the shaved chocolate, if you're going to make it that way, to melt the chocolate I just poured in my seven ounces of hot milk and the shaved chocolate ended up being about five tablespoons. So it was a significant amount, but you can see how nice and dark that is and it's already smelling wonderful. All right. And then from here, I'm going to grab my spoon and just pour in to make sure that you're in focus. Yeah, you can see me okay, I can see that camera. And just pour a little bit of this right on top. And I've got a little bit of extra chocolate that I can shave over the top to give it just a little bit of decor, a little bit of prettiness, because we do eat with our eyes first. Voila, look how pretty that is. We'll give you the full side view here with the Chartreuse. The Green Chaude is what the French often call this, but I like calling it a Chocolat Francais. So give that a taste. Oh, seriously. I want that like every holiday. Christmas morning, that's what I want. So holiday gift bottles. I'm going to give you the quick five minutes here. If you're looking look for liqueurs, that Chartreuse VEP is a wonderful gift bottle, because it's an exceptional version of Chartreuse. I do think that's a great gift. Those do, in America, I think run about a 100, $110 or so, but it is a liter size. So it's a very big bottle, but it's totally worth it. It's amazing. Yes, dark chocolate. "Is the chocolate sweetened?" A little bit. "Is the shaved chocolate semi bitter?" Yes. I'm using a bitter chocolate for the top, but you want a little bit of that sweetness and that heavy milk, because that really is what works well with the Chartreuse here. "Adjusting recipe to serve an alcoholic?" I'll come back to that. Okay. So seasonal liqueurs, Sorel is made by what's his name? Nick, Nick, I think. He's the first Black man to get a distilling license in the US and he makes this Sorel which is a traditional island kind of liqueur. It's like all spice and clove and stuff.

It's a really, really wonderful and very unusual liqueur. He's based in Brooklyn so check that out. I know that he was working on batches during the pandemic and they should be out and available. If you like tequila. My favorite reposado is Fortaleza. It's really, really awesome. Has a lot of very great body to it, that Corzo Anejo and the library, it's like a square bottle that almost looks like a library book so you can hide it on your bookshelf if you need to. Corzo Anejo is was really great. But my favorite tequila in the world is Tapatio Excelencia Extra Anejo. It's aged I think five or six years in a barrel. It is somewhere between a whiskey and tequila. It is really, really amazing. Definitely check that out. Also comes in a liter bottle, also about that price. In terms of brandy if you have brandy lovers, if you've not had any Argonaut brandy, all of their brandys are really great. Fat Thumb is awesome. A more affordable bottle, probably in the forties or fifties. If you're you know, giftee is a gin lover, Bummer & Lazarus is made here in San Francisco by Raff Distillery.

It is really one of my favorite gins, even though it's also made a few blocks away from me. It's in Bayview and I'm in The Mission, but it is a lemon forward gin, it is technically a dry gin. It doesn't have a lot of crazy flavors, but my God, it's so great. And that is not an expensive bottle. It's like a 30 or $40 bottle. So that's a great gift for, you know, maybe a friend, maybe someone's house, if you're going over to for cocktails or something. Monkey 47 is a very expensive German gin made very unusually. It has 46 herbs infused into it. So, complex and interesting. The 47th ingredient is that it's made from sugar beets and not from grapes or grain. Most of your gins are made from grains. A few like Bummer & Lazarus are made from grapes, but Monkey 47 is made from sugar beets. So, very unusual. A half size bottle is probably 60 bucks, it is not a cheap gin. In terms of whiskey Compass Box Hedonism is one of my favorite, very friendly scotches. It's a lot of spice in it. It's not a lot of iodine.

If you have friends that don't like that, the Balcones Pot Still. No, that is Balcones Pot Still bourbon is very interesting. They make a rye that's also great, but they're a distillery in Texas and they're making really good stuff and it's green glass, so. Uncle Nearest whiskey, if you don't know, this story is amazing. It's recipes and it's founded by Uncle Nearest, he was the former slave who taught Jack Daniels, how to distill. They have come to fortune and popularity in the last two years, actually 2020 was the year they took off, during the pandemic. They're really great brand. They have an amazing story and their whiskeys are really, really awesome. So check them out. That's Fawn Weaver's brand, she was a Silicon Valley person who was like, "Why is nobody doing something about Uncle Nearest?" And then she was like, "Okay, I'm going to do something." So a female distiller, female blender, female owner of the company, so. and they're all like Black women. So it's just a really fascinating story. Especially considering the history there. Corsair Dark Rye. Corsair is a Nashville distiller. They do lots of experiments with grains and beers. I love their Dark Rye, it's one of my favorites. And Ledaig scotch. If you like that iodiney flavor is an affordable, but worthwhile unusual bottle of scotch that your friends who are scotch lovers may not know. So thank you everybody. I know that we're running out of time. Check out if you like these recipes, go to I am the first bartender on Foody and my holiday season cocktails are there and includes these recipes and a few others, including some more complex syrups. My spice pecan syrup is to die for. I love it in everything, even on pancakes. So check that out. The recipe's there and available. 12 recipes for 10 bucks. So thank you everybody. If you want to get in touch, please follow me on Instagram, YouTube TikTok, which is just starting. There's not a lot of videos on TikTok yet. Tell your friends come to a live event if you are in San Francisco. Thank you very much, everyone and happy holidays.

Amy - Thank you Blake for being with us today and for sharing your extensive knowledge about the art of crafting cocktails. I'm sure our attendees enjoyed it as much as I did and to our attendees, thank you for being with us today. As a reminder, this session was recorded and the recording will be available on our website next week. A follow-up email with the link to the recipes will be sent to everyone tomorrow morning. Please visit our website for a schedule of our upcoming webinars. Thank you and be well.

Blake - Thank you everyone.

The guest speaker(s) is neither an employee nor affiliated with First Republic. Opinions expressed by the guest speaker(s) are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of First Republic. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.