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What is Green Chartreuse, and How is It Used?

Green Chartreuse

If you're in the mood to sample a French liqueur, you might have come across dozens at the store. Perhaps you have a unique brand, but you want something with an herbal flavor this time. In your quest, you discover green chartreuse. It gets you wondering; what's so special about it, and how do you use it? You have come to the right place. Here is a quick guide to help you distinguish it from the yellow chartreuse.

What is green chartreuse?

According to A Couple Cooks, green chartreuse is an herbal liqueur native to the French monks in the 17th century. It is naturally green with an herbal-like aroma and flavor. The popular drink dates to 1737, when monks created a secret recipe by mixing different herbs and plants. Like the yellow chartreuse, green chartreuse has a subtly sweet, well-balanced flavor from more than 130 herbs. However, the former has low alcohol content.

What's the story behind green chartreuse?

In the late 17th century, the then-French king Henry IV challenged the monks in a small Carthusian suburb called Vauvert. He wanted them to customize an elixir that would never expire, dubbing it the "elixir of long life." He provided them with an alchemical manuscript, promising a good reward for the winner. Word got out that, and the monks at the Grande Chartreuse monastery got to work. The monks tested many ways of crafting it, but nothing seemed to work until much later, in 1737. The winners discovered more than 130 herbs, plants, and flowers could create the "elixir of long life." They intended to create a drink with a myriad of health benefits. Its rich taste was so tempting that people who weren't sick couldn't get enough of it. According to Vine Pair, the monks discovered a recipe to make the liqueur milder. The current version has a lower ABV. The yellow chartreuse came much later in 1838, and it's way softer than the green variety. Nothing has since changed, as the ones responsible for creating the recipe are the Chartreuse monks. Once in a while, the monks go out of France to produce it because they lost rights to the recipe.

Green chartreuse's recipe

According to On The Sauce Again, green and yellow chartreuses' flavors and aromas are so complicated that only two monks can blend them ideally using up to 130 herbs. The first thing they do is gather the ingredient before drying, crushing, and mixing them in a discreet botanical room at the Chartreuse monastery. The monks then separate them into specific groups for storage in bags. Particular delivery service takes them to the distillery. Each bag goes through mild softening in neutral alcohol in readiness for distillation. The mixture undergoes maturation in casks of oak for many years. The monks go back to the oak casks each year to determine if the liqueur is ready for bottling. The goal is to select matured drinks from the rest.

How green chartreuse tastes

Whether you love your liqueur neat, on the rocks, or with your favorite beverage, finding out what the neat version tastes like can determine if you'll love it. Green chartreuse tastes spicy, smooth, and sweet. The herbal finish comes in various tasting notes like apple, gentian, vanilla, sage, and mint. Most liqueur mixologists can attest that the masterpiece ingredients are why "green chartreuse is the king of all liqueurs." The minty finish is the most interesting thing you might notice when drinking green chartreuse. It almost feels like a mint gum with herbal ingredients is dipped inside it. Even if you get gag reflexes after downing liqueur, green chartreuse won't make you feel nauseous.

How to use green chartreuse

A green chartreuse bottle has a starting price of $60, making it one of the most expensive liqueurs. Remember, it has a 55% alcohol content, which means the bottle can last you a lifetime. Here comes the trickiest part; how to use green chartreuse. There are three ways of using green chartreuse; neat, on the rocks, or as a cocktail. However, taking it neat or as a shot is the best way to savor its rich flavor, though it might sting your throat. But if you don't want it neat, here are some recipes you can try, even if you're an amateur cocktail mixologist.

Recipe 1: Champagne green chartreuse cocktail


  • An ounce of green chartreuse
  • Four ounces of champagne (Royale or Kir work best)


Add an ounce of green chartreuse and four ounces of champagne in a cocktail mixing bottle, preferably Kir or Royale. Add a few ice cubes to accentuate the minty flavor before shaking the bottle. Serve the cocktail in a whisky or cocktail glass.

Recipe 2: Last word cocktail

Last word cocktail is one of the most popular cocktails with green chartreuse as one of the ingredients. The last time cocktail mixologists experimented with this unique cocktail was in the 1950s, but Murray Stenson, a bartender in Seattle, brought it back to life.


  • An ounce of green chartreuse
  • Lime juice
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Gin


Pour the green chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur, and Gin into a cocktail bottle, and shake gently for 30 seconds. Pour the cocktail into a glass before adding the lime juice. You can add ice cubes to get the cocktail's rich flavor.

Recipe 3: Naked and Famous

Naked and Famous is one of the unique recipes invented by New York City's Bar Death and Co bartender Joaquín Simó in 2011. He first experimented with yellow chartreuse before noticing that green chartreuse produced better results.


  • Lime juice
  • An ounce of green chartreuse
  • Aperol
  • Mezcal


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail bottle or glass. Add a dash or lemon slice and enjoy the smoky, bitter-sweet, and citrusy aroma and flavor.


You have every reason to agree with cocktail mixologists by crowning green chartreuse, "the king of liqueurs. Its rich minty, spicy, and bitter-sweet flavor will make you beg for more. But if you don't like it neat, try any of the cocktail recipes mentioned here. Though expensive, how it's prepared and the number of years it takes to mature justifies its price. So, it's not easy overlooking its value for money, unlike other liqueurs.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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