The Alaska is a gin drink, like the martini, but instead of dry vermouth, it calls for yellow Chartreuse, the intensely herbal French liqueur, and sometimes orange bitters. PICTURE: Stephen Speranza/The New York Times
Sometimes you want a martini. And sometimes you want something like a martini, but are not sure exactly what.

That second, uncertain feeling appears to be benefiting an old cocktail. The Alaska is a gin drink, like the martini, but instead of dry vermouth, it calls for yellow Chartreuse, the intensely herbal French liqueur, and sometimes orange bitters. Over the last year or so, it has shown up on bar menus in San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston, Boston and New York.

The Alaska is roughly a century old, first appearing in cocktail manuals in the 1910s. How the drink got its name is not known, but Alaska was a hot news topic then, becoming a U.S. territory in 1912. Also, the drink is golden, like the ore famously mined there during many rushes.

Alaska Cocktail (Serves 1)

Ingredients

70ml gin
22ml yellow Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish

Method

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the gin, Chartreuse and bitters, and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. 
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 
Squeeze the lemon twist over the drink’s surface and drop it into the glass.

The New York Times