One of the joys of the cocktail world is that there are always new ingredients to discover. And “new” doesn’t always mean newly created — rather, spirits or liqueurs with their own long histories, that American bartenders have only recently embraced.
Such is the case with the Alpine liqueur génépy, or as it’s called in this delicious bottling by Dolin, Génépy Des Alpes. If you like Chartreuse, odds are you’ll love génépy, too. They share a somewhat sweet, complex herbal character that’s delicious on its own but even better in cocktails, where it complements flavors that range from fruity to floral to spicy. Its almost mint-y herbaceousness shines through in cocktails without ever seeming aggressive. Try génépy in these three drinks and see whether it doesn’t become a staple in your liquor cabinet.
Easy: Génépy & Tonic
Pro tip: Encountering an unfamiliar liqueur or spirit for the first time? Read the back of the bottle. In the case of Dolin Génépy Des Alpes, it recommends serving génépy with tonic, which makes perfect sense. Tonic water loves anything complex and herbal, and at 45 percent ABV, Génépy Des Alpes is boozier than some spirits, it’s more than substantial enough to anchor a drink.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of génépy with 4 ounces of good tonic water. Give a brief stir, and garnish with a lemon wedge, squeezing it into the drink before you drop it in.
Intermediate: Génépy Sidecar
Is a Sidecar still a Sidecar without orange liqueur? Maybe not. But Cognac and lemon are always a great team, and fragrant, herbal génépy slides right in. Bright and lively and dangerously drinkable, despite having three full-ounces of 80+ proof booze — so sip with caution.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of cognac (we’re partial to Courvoisier VSOP), 1 ounce of génépy, and 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice. Shake all that up until very well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a very thin lemon wheel.
Advanced: Génépy, Tangerine, Basil
We wanted to have a little fun with fruit and herbal flavors, which inspired this sour of tangerine and basil and gin, because herbal génépy screams “gin” to us. Garnish note: Before you add the basil leaf to the finished drink, give it a little slap—that releases its essential oils and makes it even more fragrant.
Instructions: Peel a tangerine and separate into segments. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle all those tangerine segments until you’ve gotten most of the juice out. Add 2 ounces of gin (use a good London dry gin like Beefeater), 3/4 ounce génépy, 3 basil leaves, and a 1/4 ounce of honey syrup (that’s just honey, cut with an equal part of hot water). Shake all that up until very well-chilled, then double-strain (through the shaker’s own strainer, and through a fine-mesh strainer) into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Top with a little splash of soda. Garnish with another tangerine segment and a fresh basil leaf.