“The ladies of LUPEC” may sound like the title of a Playboy pictorial set in a Czechoslovakian shtetl, but nothing could be further from the truth. That’s just how the group Ladies United For The Preservation Of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC for short) refer to themselves. LUPEC is dedicated to “dismantling the patriarchy one cocktail at a time,” a goal which we’re all for: we applaud any excuse for a cocktail, and patriarchs have traditionally had little tolerance for beach bums.
We recently had the pleasure of meeting some members of LUPEC’s Boston chapter, who’ve named themselves after vintage cocktails invented by women — Fancy Brandy, Pinky Gonzalez, and Hanky Panky among them. Ms. Panky, alias Misty Kalkofen, is a former divinity student turned bartender. “As far as the divinity thing goes,” she says about her path from bible-thumping to cocktail-shaking, “I tell folks I make people see God every night!”
She’s also doing the Lord’s work as a proselytizer for Chartreuse, a grassy, herbalicious liqueur made by Carthusian monks. Chartreuse comes in two colors: the full-strength, 110-proof green, and the lower-proof yellow. Hanky Panky and her fellow LUPECians have incorporated Chartreuse into several intriguing original cocktails, notably a sour cherry concoction called the Can Can, and a show-stopping grapefruit and cucumber number named after Billy Wilder’s Irma La Douce (see link below for recipes).
Inspired by LUPEC Boston’s creations, we combed through our cocktail library in search of vintage tropical drinks that call for Chartreuse. In a 1940 book entitled The How And When, we finally found a good one: the Pago Pago. To make it, place 1 ounce of diced fresh pineapple in your cocktail shaker, then muddle the pineapple in 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice. Add 1/4 ounce white creme de cacao, 3 teaspoons green Chartreuse, and 1 1/2 ounces gold Puerto Rican rum. Shake well with ice cubes and strain into a cocktail glass.