Champs Élysées is French for Elysian Fields and is named after the famous French avenue that terminates at the Arc de Triomphe. This cocktail was invented by Harry Craddock in London and comes from the 1934 Savoy Cocktail book. I absolutely love this drink and I personally feel this is one of the best cocktail from the Savoy book. The Savoy cocktail book was printed in 1934 mostly for an American audience that was recently able to legally order cocktails again with the repeal of Prohibition. The Savoy Cocktail book is regarded as one of the best European cocktail books to come out of the time period and is an example of how cocktails changed in during the American prohibition era. It helped introduce Americans to less common liqueurs and aperitifs such as Chartreuse that were more common to European cocktails.
I do not speak French and the first time I said the name of this cocktail I called it the Champs like champions and said elysees like Ulysses. needless to say this is not how you pronounce this cocktail. The phonetic way to say it is shaanz eh·lee·zei. Before order one of these you should google how to properly pronounce it to save you any embarrassment. This also isn’t really a drink you can just order anywhere, high end bars or bars that pride themselves around unique craft cocktails will know what how to make this but any normal to even mid level bar will not know what this is, even if they have all the ingredients.
The oaky wine flavor of the brandy is perfectly balanced by the herbal flavor of the Green Chartreuse, and the acidic citrus is cut perfectly by the syrup. It taste like an herbal brandy sour, but its proportions are what make it balanced and tasty. If you have never had this then you don’t know what you are missing. One of the top 5 drinks I have ever had for sure.
The Most Important Ingredient
The most important ingredient in the Champs Élysées is the Green Chartreuse. It’s unique green herb flavor totally shapes the drink. Any normal brandy will work and in fact I wouldn’t use a really nice sipping one. It would be a waste since the Chartreuse becomes the primary flavor. Fortunately for you there is only one Green Chartreuse so you can’t really make this wrong since its a pretty straight forward list of ingredients. Unfortunately Green Chartreuse cost around $60 a bottle so it makes this a pretty pricy drink to make at home.