Down the rabbit hole with Chartreuse

Do you have a signature color? I have a long-time affinity for deep blue-green, sometimes called Prussian Blue. But if I am honest, I’ve also given my heart to chartreuse. Its lemon-lime brightness makes even the darkest December afternoons seem a bit more energetic. Discovering the origins of chartreuse can lead you down a very interesting rabbit hole…

Enliven. Monoprint collage, 18 x 18in, $475 ($575 framed)

The color chartreuse gets it name from a French liqueur of the same name, created by monks in the Carthusian mountains of France since 1737. They use 130 herbs, plants and flowers to create a spirit that improves as it ages in the bottle. The last plant pressing creates this distinctive color which has become our word for somewhere between yellow and green.

The history of the monks and the recipe reads like a lengthy medieval thriller, with the secret hiding in the mountains that France shares with Switzerland and with Spain. It is still being produced today, available at my local liquor store for $60. Cocktail aficionados recommend using chartreuse sparingly — it can be aggressively herbal. 

Euphorbias may be on my spring planting list.

Now I’m beginning to consider what would happen if I didn’t just use chartreuse sparingly…  

What is a color you must have in your life?

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