Try This Spirit: Chareau Aloe
The small-batch California-made liqueur is making its way onto local menus
A few of JSix's Chareau cocktails
You’re likely familiar with aloe as a topical remedy. But more and more, aloe vera juice is also showing up in beverages — even liqueur. Chareau Aloe, which launched in 2013, is a California-made spirit (the name combines founder Kurt Charron's great grandparents’ last names: Charron and Favreau) that’s increasingly grabbing bartenders’ attention for its light, yet complex, flavor. Distilled from grapes, it’s then infused with cucumber, spearmint, lemon peel, and muskmelon. It’s soft, floral, and very approachable — a perfect match for clear spirits like gin, mezcal, and tequila.
I first came across Chareau at JSix, where Andy Luymes was using it in a tasty cocktail called Kiss it Make it Better (Aviation gin, Chareau, yellow Chartreuse, agave, fresh lime). More recently, I tried a new cocktail at Trust — the Trust Cocktail #10 — that features Chareau, gin, lime, and egg white. If you like a good gin fizz, this is your new favorite drink.
Trust bar manager Juan Sanchez says he came across Chareau only recently and decided to give it a try.
“As soon as I tasted it, I knew that gin would be the perfect vehicle to highlight the fragrant and aromatic notes of the liqueur,” he says. “Pairing it with [locally made] Old Harbor Gin turned out to be a match made in heaven.”
There are a couple of other spots where you can find a Chareau cocktail in San Diego.
Campfire’s Aloe Black includes Chareau, tequila, Creme de Violette (another lovely floral spirit), cucumber, and lemon.
And, back over at JSix, bartender Daniel Condliffe’s got multiple Chareau creations, including Death in Mexico (Don Lorenzo tequila blanco, Chareau, absinthe, lemon, lime, and agave), which takes inspiration from a classic margarita, but adds absinthe (the name’s a nod to Hemingway’s favorite absinthe cocktail, Death in the Afternoon). And Condliffe’s The Cool Hand is a martini-style cocktail made with Old Harbor gin, Chareau, a bit of green Chartreuse, orange bitters, and mint.
Want to try your hand at a Chareau cocktail? Pick up a bottle at Krisp Market (1036 Seventh Ave., Downtown) and choose from one of the 16 cocktails recipes featured on the Chareau website.
Got a spirit you’d like to know more about? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.