Chartreuse liqueur is a brand of colorful, clear vodka that has been distilled and bottled by Carthusian Monks in the French Chartreuse Mountains since 1737.
Chartreuse was created from the recipe given by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605 and has since remained a secret under the monks.
Chartreuse liquor is made from a combination of 130 herbs, spices, and flowers. The resulting deep yellow liquid creates a fascinating, vibrant drink that’s difficult to ignore when you see it in a glass or bottle.
Chartreuse, also called the ‘green fairy,’ has a unique flavor profile; sweet and herbal, with hints of vanilla.
Add to that the fact that many people believe Chartreuse tastes better than any other type of vodka or gin – it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most popular spirits on the market today.
The History of Chartreuse
Chartreuse is a unique and complex liqueur that was first distilled in 1737 by Carthusian monks living outside Grenoble, France.
The exact recipe has been kept secret for hundreds of years, but it is believed to be a combination of 130 herbs, flowers, and plants.
The history of Chartreuse liqueur is a fascinating tale that includes hidden manuscripts, monks, and a secret formula.
The history of Chartreuse liquor began in the early 1700s when the monks were given a secret manuscript by François Annibal d’Estrées, Marshal General of the Artillery for King Louis XIV.
The manuscript was called “The Elixir of Long Life” and said it would restore health and prolong life.
Only two Carthusian monks know the secret Chartreuse recipe, selecting 130 plants and herbs to macerate and blend, along with detailed information about the process for distilling them into liqueur.
They also supervise the aging process in oak casks.
How is Chartreuse made?
The Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France have been making Chartreuse since 1737.
During its long history, the recipe for Chartreuse has changed several times, including adapting to wartime shortages.
The process for producing Chartreuse begins with maceration: herbs and spices are combined with alcohol and allowed to soak for a long period (months or even years).
Green Chartreuse is produced from a beet sugar-based spirit. On the other hand, yellow Chartreuse is made with a grape-based spirit. It has a milder and sweeter flavor and aroma than its more famous green cousin, with hints of citrus.
The mixture is then distilled; the exact number of distillations varies depending on the desired end product. The final product is then aged in oak casks.
Each bottle of Chartreuse contains 130 different herbal extracts that are sourced from all over the world.
The Carthusians have kept their recipe a closely guarded secret for more than 300 years. Only two monks, Dom Benoit and Frère Jean-Jacques know the recipe and are permitted to overlook the whole process.
How Does Chartreuse Get Its Distinct Color?
Green and yellow Chartreuse are made from 130 different herbal extracts. These extracts, combined with distilled spirits, make base alcohol that is then macerated in casks to extract the full flavor.
The alcohol is then blended with water and sugar to reduce the alcohol content to 40% ABV for Yellow Chartreuse and 55% ABV for Green Chartreuse.
For their signature color, green, Chartreuse receives a touch of chlorophyll, while yellow Chartreuse gets saffron.
Chartreuse Price, Varieties & Sizes
Chartreuse, the 120-proof liquor that comes in yellow and green versions, is so famous for its price tag that it’s become a punchline.
A 375ml bottle of Chartreuse Liqueur costs $45.00 in the USA. The price varies depending on the country. In the UK, it costs £25-30, while in France, where the liquor is produced and sold at lower prices, it costs only €39.
Today, Chartreuse is one of the most expensive liquors available on the market because of its reputation as high-quality liquor.
However, it’s not just because of its reputation or taste that makes it so expensive; it’s also because of the process of making this liquor.
Following is a table of Chartreuse Liqueur Prices:
|Chartreuse Green Liqueur||700 ml
|110||40$ – 45$|
|Chartreuse Yellow Liqueur
|81||38$ – 40$|
|Chartreuse Green V.E.P.
|1 L||109||125$ – 150$|
|Chartreuse Yellow V.E.P
|1 L||84||110$ – 115$|
Is Chartreuse Hallucinogenic?
You might be wondering if the green liqueur known as Chartreuse is hallucinogenic.
While it has some psychoactive effects, it’s not hallucinogenic. There are two types of Chartreuse: yellow and green. The yellow variety is sweeter and less potent, while the green variety is stronger and bitterer.
Both types of Chartreuse contain alcohol, which acts as a depressant on the central nervous system by slowing down brain activity, but they also contain natural herbal ingredients that have psychoactive properties.
Green Chartreuse is considered an herbal liqueur because it contains many spices and herbs, including wormwood, which is used to make absinthe, a famous alcoholic drink with hallucinogenic properties.
However, the amount of wormwood in green Chartreuse isn’t enough to cause hallucinations.
How do you drink Chartreuse?
Chartreuse is a strong, sweet liqueur. The green Chartreuse is 55% alcohol by volume, and the yellow Chartreuse is 40%. Both are made with the same herbal recipe, and both taste very similar.
The two varieties are served differently.
The green Chartreuse should be chilled and served as an aperitif in a small glass like a shot glass.
It is also used in cooking sometimes as a flavoring agent, but you need to be careful with such usage because of its high alcohol content and because it has a very distinctive flavor that could ruin some preparations if overused.
The yellow Chartreuse is much lower in alcohol, so it can be served at room temperature without chilling.
It is traditionally served after dinner as a digestif, which means after the meal (but before dessert). It’s also delicious mixed into hot chocolate or added to coffee for an Irish coffee-type drink.
You can also serve Chartreuse over ice. Don’t serve it over too much ice because you don’t want to dilute it too much.
Why Is Chartreuse So Expensive?
At first glance, Chartreuse seems like a traditional liqueur. It’s sweet, aromatic, and relatively easy to drink. But it’s also one of the most expensive and exclusive spirits globally. The liqueur’s popularity is also reflected in its price.
The reason for the high price is that both varieties of Chartreuse are made by only two Carthusian monks who reside at the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps at an elevation of 3,000 feet.
They’re also made with 130 herbs and plants from around the world.
The liqueur is so exclusive that even if you live in a country where it’s sold (it’s available in more than 55 nations), you might not be able to find it on store shelves.
Chartreuse is an artisanal product that requires more effort than mass-produced industrial liquors like vodka, rum, or tequila.
Chartreuse also has the quality of aging after being packaged in a bottle, which makes it very exclusive among other competitors.
What is the difference between Yellow and Green Chartreuse?
The only difference is that Yellow Chartreuse has lower alcohol content than Green Chartreuse, which comes in at 55% ABV.
As far as flavor profiles go, both liqueurs are made from the same 130 different herbs, plants, and flowers, but the exact combination of ingredients that go into each bottle remains a secret known only to the Carthusian monks who make the spirit.
Yellow Chartreuse has a sweeter, less intense flavor than the green variety. The recipe for Yellow Chartreuse is said to be somewhat simpler than that for Green Chartreuse, though it is still secret.
Is Chartreuse Vegan?
Yes. According to the Chartreuse website, both Green and Yellow Chartreuse do not contain any animal by-products and are both suitable for vegans.
The main ingredient is “distilled alcohol derived from sugar beet.” The only other ingredients are herbs and spices, which are 100% vegan.
However, it must be noted here that the recipe for Yellow Chartreuse includes honey, which is a non-vegan product.
The color comes from the herbs used in the distilling process. Yellow Chartreuse contains saffron and other yellow-tinted herbs; green Chartreuse contains chlorophyll, among other green herbs.
How to store a bottle of Chartreuse?
Properly storing a bottle of Chartreuse can be tricky since both the liqueur and its packaging are very distinctive. Keep your Chartreuse fresh by storing it in a dark, cool area away from light and heat.
Since Chartreuse has a high alcohol content, you don’t need to worry about keeping it chilled in the refrigerator; it’s fine to store at room temperature.
You should also keep your bottle tightly sealed when not in use to prevent evaporation.
Best Cocktail recipes using Chartreuse
When I think of Chartreuse, it’s hard not to imagine the iconic bottles with their unique label. Its green hue is striking.
Chartreuse liqueur is among the most versatile liqueurs you can have in your bar. It can easily be substituted for other ingredients in a variety of cocktail recipes.
While it is sometimes used as a substitute for absinthe, it provides an entirely different experience than anise-forward absinthe.
Here are several recipes that use Chartreuse in new and interesting ways!
The Written Word
The Written Word, also known as the final word, is a medium-bodied drink that packs a punch with a blend of gin, orange juice, lemon juice, and green Chartreuse.
The color is a light green, and the taste has an herbal kick to it because of the Chartreuse.
To make this wicked blend, combine equal parts Cointreau, lemon juice, green Chartreuse, and gin with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain in a chilled cocktail glass. Serve with a lime wedge or a cherry on top!
A Bijou is a famous cocktail that is made with Chartreuse. There are many different versions of this cocktail, but the classic version is made with gin, vermouth, and Chartreuse.
Add 3 tbsp. Gin, 2 tbsp. Vermouth and 1 tbsp. Green Chartreuse in a mixing glass along with ice and stir well until combined. Give a tiny dash of orange bitter and strain.
This drink is best served in a martini glass or coupe, and it can be garnished with an orange peel or cherry.
If you’re looking for a delicious new cocktail to make at home, then you should consider trying this one! It’s easy to prepare and has amazing taste!
Naked & Famous
This popular cocktail is made with mezcal and yellow Chartreuse — two strong, unique spirits that don’t necessarily play well with others — yet somehow, they mix into a drink that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
There are no other alcoholic ingredients in the Naked & Famous, so the quality of the mezcal is critical. The mezcal should be smoky but not overwhelming; it should have some sweetness, too.
To make a Naked & Famous, combine ½ tbsp. Mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, and Aperol with 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Mix with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain, and serve in a chilled coupe.