The Lady Is A Tramp: Irma La Douce

by . on June 13, 2011

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Irma La Douce is a drink invented by the Boston Chapter of  Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails for their 2007 Chartreuse Party. It is named after the 1963 Billy Wilder movie starring Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine, based on the French musical by the same name.

We were introduced to it by one of the best bartenders we’ve ever met,  Josey Packard of Drink in Boston. (If you are reading this, Josey, please let us know next time you come to New Orleans so we can drink with you!). I could write a whole post just on Josey and Drink, but you are probably more interested in the drink.

It combines Hendrick’s Gin (they have a great website by the way) with Green Chartreuse, made by Carthusian Monks since the 1740s. Chartreuse is one my new favorites. In addition to having a very interesting taste, it has an equally interesting history and some serious pop culture references, plus numerous interesting uses. I look forward to playing more with it.

The recipe for Irma La Douce goes a little like this:

1 1/2 oz Hendrick’s gin
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
1/2 oz fresh cucumber puree (peel and blend cucumber, then pass through a sieve)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of cucumber. If you’re not in possession of a juicer, simply muddle a few slices of peeled cucumber in the shaker beforehand.

Douce, being French for sweet, you’d expect it to be sweet drink, but it is really more of a refreshing combination of gin, cucumber and citrus with the Chartreuse doing its magic on top. Surprisingly the strongest taste in some of our attempts turned out to be the cucumber, which is 96% water so we had to dilute it. Chartreuse isn’t cheap, but it is worth it and so is the work necessary for mixing an Irma La Douce.

Try mixing a pitcher for your next party instead of the tried and true mohito or margarita. you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results and we guarantee you’ll come back for more.

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