If you’ve ever taken a French class, chances are that your teacher made you sing the song called “Champs Elysées.” When I first stumbled across the Champs Elysées cocktail on drinkboy.com, I couldn’t get the song out of my head for weeks.
Tasting this drink made the earbug worth it. As a Sidecar variation, this brandy-based beverage is at once herbaceous, bold and delicately balanced. By most accounts, it’s a cocktail that’s remained largely obscure since it first appeared in Henry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. In this edition, the recipe calls for Chartreuse, while elsewhere the green or yellow is specified. This ambiguity allows the bartender (or home bartender) some room to play, so use whichever you prefer.
So little is known about this drink’s history that, much like the Last Word, ordering it is a pretty easy way to demonstrate interest in classic cocktails. It’s also worth noting that brandy-based cocktails are sometimes viewed as foreign but are actually as old (if not older than) some of the most revered whiskey cocktails.
1 dash Angostura bitters
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz (green or yellow) Chartreuse
.75 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz brandy
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake for 13-16 seconds or until combined. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and enjoy.