Suzi's Blog

Ray Gun, A Chartreuse Cocktail

This cocktail, from Difford’s Guide, is call a Ray Gun, and comes with a side note that is a warning: “not for the faint-hearted.”

Oh, there’s a kick, from the Chartreuse, one of those mystical European creations. Made in France by monks, the liqueur is alcohol with 130 herbs. I did not know there were 130 herbs. The color is, naturally, chartreuse, and the liqueur is said to actually continue to age and mature in the bottle. The flavor is intensely herby with no single note that you can recognize. I would not drink this straight and that’s one reason we have this bottle lying around. For a long time.

Several years ago, Cooking by the Book was the test kitchen for the Joy of Cooking — actually for the last two editions. As part of the testing, there was a need one day for a very little Chartreuse. That test came and has gone. The bottle of Chartreuse, a nearly full bottle, has rested untouched on our shelves ever since.

Now I guess in a normal household, after a while, you would toss out a bottle that never gets used. But when I was growing up and started to do that, my mom would say something like: “You silly child. Think of all the poor little bartenders in China with nothing to pour. Your father and I will finish the bottle.” And by God they finished that bottle and every other.

Looking back, maybe Mom and Dad had a little problem.

Anyway, I don’t throw away bottles, but it can be difficult to find uses for the liqueurs. Things are easier now. I went to, searched based on my Chartreuse dilemma, and presto came up with this solution: Chartreuse, Blue Curacao, and Champagne.

Is there anything that doesn’t taste better with Champagne?

In the recipe below, there are calls for “partial” shots. How big is a shot? Three tablespoons, so you can round off accordingly. The Blue Curacao, mixed with Champagne and the chartreuse of the Chartreuse, produces a color that Jacque Cousteau would have loved.

Ray Gun

Yield: 1 Champagne flute


  • ½ shot Chartreuse Green Liqueur
  • ¾ shot Blue Curacao Liqueur
  • Champagne


Pour the two liqueurs into a chilled flute and top with Champagne.


Hotel Nactinal, A Tropical Cocktail


Here, for a short time, is one last blast from Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails. I haven’t lied but I haven’t been accurate either. I’ve said the Summer Cocktails were new, and technically that may be true about the Hotel Nacional recipe here. But this cocktail is strictly throw back. It evokes memories of the 50’s or 60’s.  Drinking this makes you want a Pu-Pu platter. Don’t know what that is? Ask your parents.

Maybe ask your grandparents.

The world of Trader Vic’s style food may not have been haute cuisine, but it was and remains totally satisfying. There is nothing wrong with sophisticated junk food.

This tropical delight is not a junk drink. It’s a wonderful barrage of fruit that will make you ask where the egg rolls are.

Hotel Nacional

Yield: serves 1


1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce apricot brandy
2 ounces aged rum

Garnish: edible orchid


Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes, cover, and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the edible orchid.

Source: Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails by Anthony Giglio and Jim Meehan