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Chartreuse cozies up to chocolate

While Champagne is the Valentine's Day stalwart, there's a better-suited beverage to pair with your box of chocolates: Chartreuse.

The herbal monk-made liqueur has further cemented its foothold behind bars as a central cocktail ingredient, particularly in drinks that can stand in for dessert.

At Peels in New York, Chartreuse brings an addicting depth to the Rococo Cocoa, a velvety hot chocolate topped with a honey-vanilla marshmallow.

At San Francisco's Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, bar manager Carlos Yturria works along similar lines with a hot cocoa-inspired Monks Night Cap, which uses sweet, acidic-yellow Chartreuse over more traditional spiking spirits.

Equally effective against cold snaps is the Dutch Cocoa (click here to download the recipe), a chocolaty commingling of Chartreuse and genever that Brandon Wise serves at Portland's Irving Street Kitchen.

The combination also works chilled. In Seattle, Crush's bartenders blend bourbon with yellow Chartreuse and chocolate bitters in the bar's popular Carthusian Riddle, while at Bastille Café & Bar, bar manager Charles Veitch will soon reveal a cocktail that marries green Chartreuse with a cocoa-nib-infused spirit.

For a spirit of chaste origins, Chartreuse makes an exceptionally good partner, cold or hot.