Chartreuse is steeped in legend and lore like no other spirit. Ancient texts, vows of silence, messengers from the king, and a magical elixir… the story sounds like an improved version of Game of Thrones’ final season. At the heart of that legend is 1605. And this Thursday (5.16), Chartreuse will be hosting 1605 Day, a worldwide toast to celebrate the Queen of Liqueur’s past and future reign.
Europeans numerically represent dates with the day first, followed by the month; so, 1605 would be the 16th day of month 05 (May). 1605 is also the year when Francois Hannibal d’ Estrées, Marshal of King’s Henri IV artillery, gifted the monks of the Grande Chartreuse Monastery an ancient manuscript containing the formula for a secret recipe for an elixir to preserve life…. that elixir would later evolve into everyone’s favorite green liqueur. Now, that that’s explained, more on the event…
Matt LoFink, Central Spirits Specialist for Frederick Wildman, told Neat Pour that the concept is pretty straightforward. “The Chartreuse team likes to visit our friends around the world and raise a toast to this wonderful liqueur and the people that like to enjoy it with us.”
Hundreds of bars and restaurants throughout the US (listed on this handy map) will be honoring Chartreuse on Wednesday. In some cases, that means shot specials. In other cases, that means elaborate concoctions like Chartreuse infused ice-cream. And, of course, there will be plenty of Chartreuse cocktails; both original creations and classics like the Last Word and the Alaska.
LoFink stressed that this wide range of activities is indicative of the essence of Chartreuse. “I think about that very old quote, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ Charteuse is whatever you want it to be,” he mused.
“Some people have great stories about drinking Chartreuse with friends and that’s what makes it special to them. Cocktail bartenders like that it’s a very versatile ingredient and you can apply it in so many ways, shapes, and forms to drinks. A lot of people consider it an ‘industry shot,’ a shot you have after work on a rough day. For me personally, I just love the history of it. It’s an old spirit, it’s no BS. It’s even still made by monks.”
Yet, 1605 Day is also about finding a shared thread amongst all of these unique activities. To achieve this goal, the team turned to a classic common denominator in the drinking world: the toast. The year’s celebration will put a modern spin on that old concept with a virtual toast of sorts.
“Really whatever you think is special to you with Chartreuse—enjoy it that way.”
While the Chartreuse faithful will physically raise their glasses at many bars, the plan is to join together all of these toasts via social media. So, wherever you’re lifting a glass on Chartreuse Day, you’re encouraged to take a picture and post it online with the tag #Chartreuse1605.
“Really whatever you think is special to you with Chartreuse—enjoy it that way. If it’s sitting next to a fire and sipping it neat while reading a book, by all means, do it that way. If it’s going out to a bar and enjoying it with your friends, do it that way,” said LoFink. “But post the #Chartreuse1605. That will throw you into the social media world and allow us all to have toast together in the spirit of the day.”