Sunday, July 17, 2011

the grasshopper lies heavy

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (Jaggery Syrup)
3 healthy shakes Cocoa Powder (1/2 tsp Ghirardelli Unsweetened)
1 Egg White

Shake without ice, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a short Collins glass with ice. Top with soda water (2 oz) and garnish with a dusting of more cocoa powder. Note: 3/4 - 1 tsp of cocoa powder would work well for the 3 "shakes" too.

On Friday night, I decided to make a drink I had spotted on the 1022 South blog for MxMo: Niche Spirits last month. The drink, the Grasshopper Lies Heavy, appears on the Spring/Summer cocktail menu of this Tacoma, Washington, establishment, and it struck me as a wonderful modern mixology take on the classic Grasshopper. The classic is best known as the following:
• 1 oz Green Crème de Menthe
• 1 oz Crème de Cacao
• 1 oz Cream
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Recipe from Masson & Boehm's Big Bartender's Book. Gary Regan calls for 1 1/2 oz of each liqueur and 1 oz of cream in The Joy of Mixology, and 1972's Trader Vic for 1 oz of crème de menthe and 1/2 oz each of the other two (1947's Trader Vic lacks the dairy).
The oldest Grasshopper recipe I found in my collection was from the 1940 The How and When which is equal parts of both liqueurs with a cocoa dusting but no dairy at all; indeed, I was surprised that this drink was that old! For some reason I wanted to place it in the disco 1970's and no earlier than the synthetic 1950's. After finding this reference, I told Andrea, and she somehow expected it even older; she envisioned Victorian ladies in the late 19th century to be drinking this. Perhaps, with 2 dashes of crème de rose, I could almost envision it in William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl (*)
In terms of how the Grasshopper Lies Heavy relates to the classic, the minty Fernet Branca and perhaps some of the herbal aspects of the Green Chartreuse symbolize the crème de menthe; moreover, the green from the Chartreuse has a somewhat similar coloration to the liqueur. The cocoa powder clearly substitutes for the crème de cacao, and the egg white has a similar richness and mouthfeel as cream. Here, the green coloration lost out to the cocoa powder and Fernet, and the drink had the look of chocolate milk instead of a chemical green color. Next, the cocoa powder garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose along with a hint of the Fernet Branca. The creamy, rich, and carbonated sip led into the chocolate followed by a light Fernet Branca flavor on the swallow. The Green Chartreuse fit in well here, but, suprisingly, it was less distinctive in the mix. Overall, the Grasshopper Lies Heavy was a tasty and slightly minty adult Egg Cream that made for a rather good dessert drink.

(*) While many sources trace the drink back to Philibert Guichet Jr., the owner of Tujaque's bar in New Orleans, Robert Hess provides a little more history and places the drink's creation during Prohibition around 1928.


Dagreb said...

I'm intrigued. Intrigued and without Chartreuse.


Ouroboros said...

mixed this just now. mistook the cocoa powder as garnish, neglected to shake it with the liquor. seems that the cocoa powder really activates the minty taste coming from the Fernet and Chartreuse. I'll have to give this another go.