I found this martini variation in an old Gary Regan book called New Classic Cocktails. I decided to give it a whirl since I had some thyme lying around after trying out Jamie Boudreau’s Old Man Thyme – recommended by the way.
This one is simplicity itself. I did scale down the recipe a notch. I also varied it slightly by putting a couple of small sprigs of lightly crushed thyme in the mixing glass to get some thyme flavor in the drink rather than just relying on the thyme aroma. The original version in the Gary Regan book simply calls for a thyme garnish.
2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
½ oz Chartreuse (either type is OK, but I used yellow)
A couple of sprigs of thyme
Put a sprig of thyme in mixing glass and lightly bruise with a muddler. Add other ingredients plus ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.
I would probably try this with green Chartreuse if I were to make it again. It is a pleasant drink though. The thyme works nicely with the Chartreuse, and as always the Chartreuse works with the gin.
The drink did came across to me as slightly sweet though, and so halfway through drinking it I uncharacteristically decided to tinker with it. I thought it was missing a vinous component so I added a ¼ oz of dry vermouth (the drink was half gone at this stage so this was probably equivalent to a ½ oz if based on the proportions in the original recipe). This much vermouth pretty much killed the thyme, but also fixed the sweetness. I’m not sure, but maybe, just maybe, a ¼ oz of dry vermouth added to the original recipe would improve things? Or maybe something milder and less disruptive like Lillet, or even sherry? Or maybe I just make it with green Chartreuse and a higher proof gin (I was using 40% Tanqueray) and let the higher alcohol content take care of the sugar?
I just find the original a little too sweet, and perhaps a little too simple tasting as well. Despite the complexity of the Chartreuse, the original drink still tastes like a simple spirit + liqueur mix. I love anything with Chartreuse, but this drink probably needs to be altered a little before I would drink it regularly.