What is Chartreuse Liquor: Origins, Flavor Profile, and More

Chartreuse is a French liqueur that has been produced by the Carthusian monks since 1737.

This herbal liqueur is available in two versions: green and yellow.

Both versions differ in taste and alcohol content. Chartreuse is made from a secret recipe that includes a blend of 130 herbs and botanicals, and it is known as one of the oldest and most mysterious spirits still available.

Chartreuse is a unique liqueur that has remained true to its tradition in every sense. The Carthusian monks have been producing this liqueur for centuries, and they continue to use the same recipe and production methods. The liqueur has a distinct flavor that is both sweet and spicy, with notes of cinnamon, anise, and other herbs.

Chartreuse is a versatile liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of cocktails.

History of Chartreuse Liquor


Chartreuse liquor has a long and interesting history dating back to the early 17th century.

The recipe for Chartreuse was created by a French monk named Francois Annibal d’Estrées in 1605.

The recipe was then given to the Carthusian monks, who perfected the recipe over the years. The monks were known for their expertise in herbal medicine, and they used this knowledge to create a unique blend of over 130 herbs and botanicals.

The name “Chartreuse” comes from the Chartreuse Mountains in southeastern France, where the Carthusian monastery is located. The monks began producing the liquor on a small scale in the early 18th century, and it quickly gained popularity among the local population.


The production of Chartreuse liquor is a complex and time-consuming process that has remained largely unchanged since its creation.

The monks use a secret recipe that involves macerating a blend of botanicals and herbs in alcohol for several weeks.

The mixture is then distilled and aged in oak barrels for several years. There are two types of Chartreuse liquor: green and yellow. The green version is stronger and more bitter, while the yellow version is sweeter and milder.

The difference in taste and color is due to the different herbs and botanicals used in each recipe. Today, Chartreuse liquor is still produced by the Carthusian monks in their monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains. The production process is closely guarded and known only to a select few monks.

Chartreuse liquor is considered one of the finest liqueurs in the world and is enjoyed by connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Flavor Profile of Chartreuse Liquor

Chartreuse liquor is a French herbal liqueur that is available in green and yellow versions.

The liquor is made from a secret recipe of over 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, which are macerated in alcohol for several hours to extract their flavors and aromas.


The exact ingredients of Chartreuse liquor are a closely guarded secret, known only to a select few monks who make the liquor in the Chartreuse Mountains of France.

However, it is known that the liquor contains a variety of herbs, including cinnamon, angelica, anise, coriander, ginger, and nutmeg, as well as flowers like hyssop and mallow.

The liquor also contains a small amount of sugar, which helps to balance out the bitterness of some of the herbs.

Tasting Notes

The flavor profile of Chartreuse liquor is complex and multi-layered, with a range of herbal, floral, and spicy notes that combine to create a unique and distinctive taste.

The following are some of the tasting notes that can be expected from both the green and yellow versions of Chartreuse liquor:

  • Green Chartreuse: The original formula of Chartreuse liquor, green Chartreuse is bottled at 55% ABV (110 proof) and has a strong, intense flavor. It has a pronounced herbal character, with notes of cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and thyme, as well as a hint of citrus. The liquor is also slightly sweet, with a long, lingering finish.
  • Yellow Chartreuse: A milder version of Chartreuse liquor, yellow Chartreuse has an ABV of 40% (80 proof) and is slightly sweeter than the green version. It has a softer, more delicate flavor, with notes of honey, saffron, and chamomile, as well as a hint of anise. The liquor has a smooth, velvety texture and a long, warming finish.

Overall, Chartreuse liquor is a complex and sophisticated spirit that is best enjoyed on its own, either chilled or over ice.

It can also be used as a mixer in cocktails, adding a unique and distinctive flavor to classic drinks like the Last Word or the Bijou.

Mixing Chartreuse Liquor in Cocktails

Classic Cocktails

Chartreuse liquor has been used in classic cocktails for centuries.

Some of the most popular classic cocktails that use Chartreuse include:

These cocktails showcase the complex herbal notes of Chartreuse and are perfect for those who enjoy a strong, flavorful drink.

Modern Cocktails

Chartreuse is also a popular ingredient in modern cocktails.

Mixologists around the world have been experimenting with Chartreuse to create unique and delicious drinks. Some popular modern cocktails that use Chartreuse include:

  • The Green Beast
  • The Champs-Élysées
  • The Naked and Famous

These cocktails show the versatility of Chartreuse and how it can be used in a variety of different ways to create different flavors and experiences.

When mixing Chartreuse in cocktails, it’s important to keep in mind that it is a strong, flavorful liqueur. A little bit goes a long way, and too much can overpower the other ingredients in the drink.

It’s also important to use the right type of Chartreuse – green Chartreuse is more commonly used in cocktails, but yellow Chartreuse can also be used in some recipes.

Whether you’re mixing up a classic recipe or experimenting with a modern creation, Chartreuse is a great choice for those who enjoy a bold, flavorful drink.


Chartreuse is a unique and complex liqueur that has been enjoyed for centuries.

Its history is rich and fascinating, as it was first created by Carthusian monks in 1737 from a recipe discovered by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605. Today, it is still produced by the same order of monks using the same recipe and methods, making it a true taste of history.

Chartreuse comes in two varieties: green and yellow.

Green Chartreuse is the stronger of the two, with a higher alcohol content and a more intense herbal flavor. Yellow Chartreuse is slightly sweeter and has a milder flavor. Both versions are made with a secret blend of 130 herbs and botanicals, which gives them their unique taste and aroma.

Chartreuse is a versatile liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of cocktails. Its complex flavor profile makes it a favorite among mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

Overall, Chartreuse is a one-of-a-kind liquor that is steeped in history and tradition. Its unique flavor and aroma make it a must-try for anyone who appreciates fine spirits.

Whether enjoyed on its own or used in a cocktail, Chartreuse is sure to impress even the most discerning palate.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

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