The world of mixology is forever evolving, and that’s how the Naked and Famous cocktail came about. As the bastard lovechild of the famous paper plane cocktail and the Last Word cocktail, this mezcal creation has acquired a popularity that has surprised even its founder.
If you love mezcal cocktails, this is undoubtedly a trendy, crafty cocktail to add to your repertoire at home.
Here’s everything you need to know about the history of these cocktails and how to make one yourself with our Naked and Famous recipe.
The Naked and Famous is a concoction of smoky mezcal (an offshoot of tequila) and the infamous herbal liqueur Chartreuse. It’s one of those rare cocktails that utilize equal parts to create – and this is mainly famous as it contains four equal parts.
Some other cocktails that have passed this rare quartet grade include the Prohibition-era Last Word cocktail, the Corpse Reviver No. 2, and the Final Ward cocktail.
Complex, approachable, and slightly bitter, whereas the Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe is designed around long summer evenings, this cocktail is perfect for any season.
Many believe that the Naked and Famous became so popular because of the rise of Aperol as the ultimate drink of the summer, as dubbed by the New York Times. This is partly because Aperol’s parent company, Campari, has worked to position itself as such.
But what gets many going is the addition of the French liqueur Chartreuse. Let’s go into what this is and why it’s so effective.
Chartreuse is such a special liqueur because of its one-of-a-kind characteristics. Born in France, this alcohol is the only one in the world with a natural green color. Although other drinks are green, this cannot be achieved without adding more than one ingredient, except in this case.
For historians, Chartreuse is fascinating because it’s one of those rare spirits where the original recipe remains a secret. It’s been brewed by French monks since 1737 and is rumored to contain 130 plants and herbs blended together.
So, why is it called Chartreuse? This harkens back to its origins, the Grande Chartreuse monastery close to Grenoble.
Chartreuse is always slightly sweet with robust herbal notes. Note that yellow Chartreuse, used in the Naked and Famous, is sweeter than the conventional green Chartreuse.
Typically, you should be able to taste honey, anise, and saffron when drinking yellow Chartreuse. If you opt for a green Chartreuse variation, you’ll taste more prominent flavors like herbs, lime, and citrus.
Chartreuse is a liqueur most people likely won’t have in their liquor cabinets. Unfortunately, there’s no replacement for this liqueur because of its uniqueness.
On the other hand, if you have to make a substitute, here are the best options:
· Dolin Genepy
Despite their similar profiles, none of the above can genuinely replace the one-of-a-kind flavor of Chartreuse.
The Last Word has long been a starting point for mixologists to develop new drinks. And the Naked and Famous is an example of an experiment gone right.
This flavor was developed back in 2011 as an authentic American classic. Developed by legendary bartender Joaquin Simo at the neo-speakeasy Death & Co., located in New York City, he added what he termed “a Latin spirit” to bring this equal-parts construction to life.
According to Simo, the breakthrough arose when he swapped the boldness of Green Chartreuse with Yellow Chartreuse. He also replaced the maraschino liqueur with Aperol, the trendy summer liquor of today.
Since its success in the Big Apple, the Naked and Famous cocktail has become a staple in cocktail bars worldwide.
So, why the name?
According to Simo, the name is a lyric from a song by Tricky named Tricky Kid, from the Pre-Millennium Tension album. He loved the song as a teenager, and so that’s where he got the inspiration from.
Drinking a Naked and Famous means sampling mezcal with your cocktail, but an increasing number of Americans are pairing their cocktails with a marijuana strain of choice.
So, what works with a Naked and Famous?
Although this is a complex drink, sweetness and fruitiness with a hint of bitterness are the leading flavors here. With that in mind, the best cannabis pairings are those with similar flavor profiles, so here’s a list of weed strains to try:
· Sweet Island Skunk
· Agent Orange
· Lucky Lemons #7
Focus less on Sativa vs. Indica and more on the flavor profiles and the effects. With 28% of Americans aged 35-55 smoking cannabis, there’s never been a better time to sample one of these uplifting pairings.
And, as always, know your limits or risk getting cross-faded, which can quickly turn an epic night into a nightmare.
The Naked and Famous cocktail should be constructed using the finest ingredients. In particular, a premium mezcal is essential for getting the most out of your drink.
If you’re ready to taste this mezcal Aperol cocktail from the comfort of your own home, here’s how to make this easy cocktail.
· Prep Time – Three minutes
· Cook Time – 0 minutes
· Total Time – Three minutes
· Serves – One person
· Calories – 179 kcal
· ¾ ounces of mezcal
· ¾ ounces of Aperol
· ¾ ounces of yellow Chartreuse
· ¾ ounces of freshly squeezed lime juice
· Lime wedge
1. Add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake until well-chilled (around 20 seconds).
3. Strain into a coupe glass.
4. Garnish with a lime wedge.
5. Serve and enjoy!
· The ABV level of the Naked and Famous is 18.75%.
· To make the original recipe how Simo intended, use Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal.
· Cut your mezcal with a premium tequila if this cocktail is too smoky.