This drink started life in the 1990s without a name. It was originally created by internet blogging pioneer and Wired Magazine’s online cocktail writer, Paul Harrington. Back then, Paul went by the nickname the Alchemist and described this drink on the site as an unnamed recipe that can reveal someone’s ability to appreciate intense flavor—a description that is rather surprising considering the fact that vodka is flavor-neutral. Of course, he wasn’t referring to the base spirit in this cocktail. The intensity comes from the strong, herbal melange in Chartreuse which can be quite a shock to first-timers. Even in small proportions, Chartreuse can easily take over a recipe, but with good vodka the effect is toned down so you can enjoy it—like a luxurious classic that remains lightly sweet and approachable.
Any Chartreuse fan is often looking for a recipe to enjoy their favorite elixir, yet few of us are interested in drinking it straight. That’s why vodka is a wonderful choice for the base spirit. It transforms the intensity of Chartreuse by elongating it into a proper drink while maintaining all of its flavorful magic. A little help from the Cointreau and a nice expression of oils from the orange peel completes the recipe so it can be enjoyed by anyone.
Harrington Cocktail by Paul Harrington
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/4 ounce Cointreau
1/8 ounce green Chartreuse
Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.
The quantities listed are consistent with the original post and will result in a strong but petite serving. Carefully measured, it almost seems like a timeless classic, but the 1990s is probably a century later than other recipes in that category. Clearly, the Alchemist was onto something, helping us consider smaller, flavorful cocktails that retain their chill while you sip instead of the supersized “whatever-tinis” most bars were serving at the time. However, we like this one enough to double the recipe when it suits us. You could consider this drink without a name an early standout of the current cocktail renaissance. We certainly do, and Paul Harrington helped make it happen. Robert Hess made a video about this drink in which he finally called it the Harrington and the name stuck. Give it a try and prove that you too appreciate intense flavors!