Chartreuse: What is it?

Chartreuse is a French liqueur that has been made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737. It is said that in 1605, the recipe was given to them by François Annibal d'Estrées. It is composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers but the recipe has been kept secret its entire life. It is said that only 2 monks know the recipe at any point in time and that each monk only knows their passed along portion of the recipe. The liqueur is named after the monks' Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble in France.

The two main types of Chartreuse found in your local liquor store are:

  • Green Chartreuse is a naturally green 110 proof liqueur made from 130 herbs and plants macerated in alcohol and steeped for about 8 hours.
  • Yellow Chartreuse has a milder (80 proof) and sweeter flavor and aroma.

Regardless of color, these liqueurs are extremely versatile and are great mixed with tonic over ice and in any cocktail. On average a bottle costs $65 for a 750ml. Don’t let the price scare you, most mixologist only use max 1oz in a cocktail. A favorite drink of mine is a little Chartreuse in your hot chocolate! Get a bottle today and start mixing!


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