The Champs-Élysées Cocktail is so delicious and, just like its namesake street in Paris, perfectly elegant! It has Cognac as the main spirit, and the green Chartreuse liqueur and lemon juice give it a wonderful flavor while still being super refreshing.
The Champs-Élysées cocktail was first published in the 1925 cocktail book Drinks - Long and Short, by Nina Toy and A H Adair (page 28). It's named after the Champs-Élysées (literally translating to Elysian Fields), a beautiful street in Paris that leads to the Arc de Triomphe.
This is a pretty simple cocktail to make, once you have all of the ingredients. Here is what you'll need:
- Cognac - I used Hennessy VS for this drink. Since this is a mixed drink, there is no need to use a higher quality Cognac like VSOP. You can also use Armagnac, or whatever your favorite brandy is to mix with.
- Chartreuse green liqueur - there are two types of Chartreuse liqueur, green and yellow. The original recipe doesn't specify which type to use, but most modern recipe for this cocktail use green. If you find that the green is too strong of an herbal flavor for you, the yellow works well too. This is a pricey liqueur, but a little really goes a long way.
- Lemon juice - preferably freshly squeezed.
- Simple syrup - you can use homemade simple syrup, or store bought. This recipe is based on a 1:1 water to sugar ratio.
- Angostura bitters
Here are some substitutions you can make for this cocktail.
- Cognac - if you don't have Cognac, you can use another type of brandy. Apple brandy would be a great substitute here. Or, you can also use whiskey or aged rum for a different flavor.
- Chartreuse - the Chartreuse here is important because it packs so much of a punch in the flavor department. If you don't have it, another herbal liqueur you can use in its place is Strega. You could also use Drambuie, which is a Scotch-based liqueur. It's slightly herbal, but much less intense than Chartreuse.
- Simple syrup - if you are trying to reduce your sugar, a great way to do that here is to just replace the regular simple syrup with a different sweetener, like a keto-friendly syrup made with allulose. Just keep in mind that the Chartreuse liqueur does have a bunch of sugar in it too!
Here are some ways to change up this cocktail if you're looking for something a little bit different.
- Champs-Élysées Highball - make the drink the same way, but serve it in a tall Collins glass over ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with a lemon wheel.
- Citrusy Champs-Élysées - change out the Chartreuse for an amaro liqueur, like Campari, for a more citrusy flavor. Or, switch out the Angostura to use Peychaud's bitters instead, which are more citrus-forward.
- Champs-Élysées Spritz - halve the recipe, and serve it with 3 ounces of Prosecco plus 1 ounce of seltzer over ice.
You'll need some basic bar equipment to make this drink. A cocktail shaker, a strainer, and a jigger to measure the liquids are the main things you'll want to have. A second fine-mesh strainer is also nice to have if you want to make sure you get all of the lemon pulp out of the drink. For the citrus and garnish, a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a citrus juicer are all handy to have around.
This drink is served up, without ice, so you'll also need a stemmed glass. I like to use a Nick and Nora style glass for this cocktail.
Start out by making your garnish. Use a vegetable peeler to peel a strip of lemon rind, and then use a sharp paring knife to trim the sides to make a neat parallellogram. Cut a small slit in the middle of the lemon peel that you'll use later to attach it to the rim of the serving glass.
Set the garnish aside and add the lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters into the cocktail shaker.
Next, add in the Chartreuse and Cognac.
Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and seal it up. Shake the cocktail well, about 15-20 good shakes, to dilute and chill the liquid.
Then, strain the drink into the glass. You can use just one cocktail strainer, or you can double strain, which means to use two strainers at the same time. This will prevent any ice chips or lemon pulp from getting into the drink.
Finally, garnish the cocktail. Curl the prepared peel so the yellow side is out, and attach the lemon peel to the rim of the glass using the slit you cut in the middle. Then, your drink is ready to enjoy!
Hint: Chilling your serving glass in the freezer for about 15 minutes before making the drink will help to keep the drink cold for a little bit longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cognac is rated VS, VSOP or XO depending on how long it's been aged. VS (very special) means it's been aged at least 2 years. VSOP (very special, old and pale) Cognac has been aged at least 4 years, and XO (extra old) Cognac has been aged at least 6 years.
Chartreuse is a famously top-secret liqueur. It's made by French monks with a centuries-old recipe using 130 different herbs and plants. The taste is extremely strong and herbal, with a lot of body and sweetness from sugar, and a high alcohol content.
If you want to make a batch of these cocktails, a great way to do it is to pre-mix the Cognac, Chartreuse, simple syrup and bitters in a pitcher. Keep it in the refrigerator. Then, about an hour before you're ready to serve it, juice your lemons.
Mix the lemon juice into the pitcher along with ½ ounce of water per cocktail. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Since the drink is already cold and diluted, there's no need to shake it with ice -- just pour, garnish and serve.
- Knife and cutting board (for the citrus and garnish)
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, seal it and give it about 15-20 good shakes.
- Strain the drink into your serving glass.
- Garnish with a lemon peel and serve.