Bay Area coffee cocktail recipe: Chartreuse Cappuccino

This recipe by Maison Nico’s Paul Einbund in San Francisco comes from “But First, Coffee,” a new cookbook by Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen.

Instead of reaching for an espresso martini the next time you crave a caffeinated cocktail, try a cozier, more complex alternative: the Chartreuse Cappuccino.

This recipe is from “But First Coffee: A Guide to Brewing from the Kitchen to the Bar,” a new cookbook by Portland-based all-things-coffee publication Sprudge, written by Sprudge cofounders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen.

They attribute this recipe to their friend Paul Einbund, the restaurateur behind the Morris and Maison Nico in San Francisco. In this drink, Einbund combined his knowledge of coffee with a passion for Chartreuse, a herbal French liqueur made by monks at a single distillery in the French Alps. It pairs well with Bay Area fog and cozy sweaters for sophisticated and atmospheric sipping.

“Espresso is rude, and milk is forgiving,” Einbund writes in his cookbook. “When you add a little bit of sugar and Chartreuse into the mix, that’s when things get really interesting.”

Because chartreuse is in short supply around the world, finding it may be the most difficult part of making this recipe. While demand has increased due to home cocktail-making, the monks, who use a secret 1600s recipe containing 130 botanicals, have decided not to increase production, citing environmental concerns and a desire to focus on other aspects of monastic life such as solitude and prayer.

Einbund’s recipe uses yellow Chartreuse and looks very similar to a traditional cappuccino. The authors of the cookbook, on the other hand, prefer green Chartreuse, which adds a sweet, vegetal note to the drink that blends well with the espresso. They add a dash of matcha powder — about 3/4 teaspoon — to the milk mixture before steaming to make the drink appear more green.Please keep in mind that this recipe requires the use of an espresso machine’s steam wand.

Chartreuse Cappuccino

Makes 1 drink (8 ounces)


1 ounce yellow or green Chartreuse

4 ounces whole milk or alternative milk of your choice

1 teaspoon palm sugar syrup or Demerara sugar syrup

3/4 teaspoon matcha powder, optional

1 espresso shot (1.5 ounces or 3 tablespoons)


Pour one shot of espresso into a cappuccino cup. Serve the espresso with the steamed milk mixture right away.

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