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Hot Cocktails: Vera Pizzeria's Blazing Monk

With a flourish of double-bottle-pouring and some combustion, The Blazing Monk is served, a current winter cocktail at Vera Pizzeria.

Bar Manager Jason Wood, who has held that position for a year and a half, explains that the hot cocktail is "a play on the hot toddy" with its classic combination of liquor, hot water, lemon and honey. The drink is served in a glass mug.

Wood claims that this warming drink may be "a cure for a lingering winter cold" due to the elixir Chartreuse, the Blazing Monk's key ingredient. For the cocktail Vera uses both green chartreuse (110 proof) and its yellow variant (80 proof).

He explains the secrets behind its history. "Chartreuse has been made by monks in the North French Alps since 1605. Three monks know one-third the recipe and the owner of the company knows it, too." The liqueur is composed of distilled alcohol within which 130 plants, flowers and herbs have been steeped and aged.

"One the weather gets colder people have warm cocktails, they will have one really quick and move on to another cocktail." The Blazing Monk is one of two hot cocktails on the current Vera cocktail menu: the other is another classic, Hot Rum & Cider, a variant of Hot Buttered Rum, served with a pat of butter on top.

A Blazing Monk is equal parts green and yellow Chartreuse with the addition of the juice of half a fresh lemon. Vera adds honey syrup to the mix, made from equal parts honey, a dark, rich syrup. The finish is a float of green Chartreuse on top, and a burnt orange peel that ignites the drink. Wood cautions "Blow it out before you pick it up."

The Blazing Monk at Vera Pizzeria (Nancy J. Parisi)

The Blazing Monk at Vera Pizzeria (Nancy J. Parisi)

Blazing Monk recipe:

-       1 ounce Green Chartreuse

-       1 ounce Yellow Chartreuse

-       Juice of half a fresh lemon

-       1 ounce honey syrup

-       Float of Green Chartreuse on top

-       Orange peel, ignited

Serve in a clear glass coffee mug to see the lovely greenish-yellow color.

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