Chartreuse Eau de Vie Tisane

Licorice meets flowers in this unusual tisane that’s described as a “luxury digestive tonic”, and was inspired by the Green Chartreuse liquor. Like its namesake, this tisane is prepared as an either cold or warm cordial and has a sweet anisic flavour, which comes from the fennel and anise seeds. Combined with milky chamomile flowers, it is sure to soothe the digestive system, yet thankfully it escapes the familiar baby-colic-relief brew because of the presence of other unusual elements, most importantly French tarragon, which contributes a quirky and refreshing, slightly minty and sweet clove-like character that is a departure from the familiar licorice and anise flavour; and lemon verbena, which is invigorating and balances the richness of the licorice. To top this off, osmanthus flowers and lavender buds add a perfumed element that complements the chamomile and adds not only to its therapeutic, soothing effect but also to its rich, sweet floral bouquet.

Chartreuse Eau de Vie tisane is available directly from Inner Alchemy Tea Co. in Vancouver (604) 731-1529 and is also sold in select Farmers’ Markets around Vancouver during the Spring, Summer and Fall. It costs $16 for a 2oz tin.

P.s. Like most antique liquors, Chartreuse liquor originated in a form of a medicinal concoction created by monks in a monastery of the same name. This one came from France, and for centuries is prepared by monks of the Carthusian Order who to his day are the only ones who know its secret recipe. Its origins are dated as far back as 1605, and its secret formula containing some 130 herbal extracts withstood many historical challenges including several expulsions of the monks from their monastery, restrictions from the French government, and the ruin of the distillery itself.

Back to the Roots

Vetiver Roots 03, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Yesterday I got my shipment from Penn Herbs, including dried, chopped Vetiver roots. The main objective of the order was to tincture dried deer tongue leaves for the rich coumarin sweetness for another project I am working on (which you will hear about very soon!). I glanced through the website and spotted vetiver roots, and added them to the shopping basket with no hesitation.

What I found when I opened the ziplock bag is the incredible richness of the full plant roots – cleaned from the soil, of course, and with an earthy, grassy, bittersweet scent, and that familiar dry woven basket aroma. All I could do is chug the ziplock with my nostrils, and suck in all the fragrant air. I want to do so many things with those magical roots – put them in a pillow for easy inhale around bedtime, make a bathing sponge out of them (don’t ask me how, because I haven’t figured it out), grind it into body scrubs – you name it.

Penn Herbs labels this as a stimulating tonic, and recommends to drink it as a tisan (1 cup of boiling water to ½ or 1 tsp. of the dried roots, steep for 4-7 minutes and drink as is or with honey and/or lemon), and counter indicates it for pregnant women.

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