What it is:
Chartreuse is a distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers–the green color is all natural!
It is a French liqueur made by Carthusian Monks and is one of few types of liquor that continues to age and improve in the bottle. Other variations include Yellow Chartreuse, Chartreuse VEP (exceptionally prolonged aging) available in both green and yellow and a couple others based on the original recipe.
How it’s used:
Green Chartreuse is commonly drunk as a digestif and should be enjoyed very cold. Though many people prefer to sip it straight on ice, it has become a bartender favorite and is continuously being made into new and inventive cocktails.
In 1605 a Chartreuse monastery in Vauverts, a small suburb of Paris, received an ancient manuscript for an “Elixir” from Fanvoise Hannibal d’Estrees, Marshal of King Henry IV artillery. The “Elixir of Long Life” (Elixir Vegetal) was made, and continues to be made, by these Carthusian monks by suspending plants, herbs and other botanicals in wine alcohol.
In 1764, once they realized that people were drinking it as a beverage rather than a medicine the monks made a milder version (this Elixir Vegetal was 138 proof!) known as Green Chartreuse that is 110 proof. In 1838 the distillers developed a sweeter form of Chartreuse, which is known as Yellow Chartreuse and is 80 proof.
Green Chartreuse is still made by monks and the sales of the liqueurs allow the Chartreuse Monks the funds to survive and dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation.
Though Green Chartreuse has typically been an after dinner drink, it is more frequently being enjoyed in unique cocktail recipes. It is boozier than whiskey, vodka or tequila and either the taste or the story is catching on, because Chartreuse sales are up! Some believe its due to a shout out in a Quentin Tarantino film or props from “hipster culture.”
Seattle Met wrote an article in April 2013 about this new favorite. Jamie Boudreau, bar manager of Canon in Seattle, visited the distillery, finishes every meal with it and recommends trying it with chocolate.
Buy it here:
Any local liquor store should carry it.
Drink it here:
Blue Hour, Church (Ne Sandy), Vintage Cocktail Lounge (SE Stark), Le Bistro Montage
Chartreuse on the Rocks
Green Chartreuse • Lots of Ice
Gumby on Acid
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse • Champagne (brut)
Other cocktail ideas:
1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 oz Vodka • 5 oz Orange Juice • 1 oz Lemon Juice • Ice
Chartreuse Soleil aka “Sunburst”
1 oz Green Chartreuse • 6 oz Orange Juice • Ice
1 oz Gin • 1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth • 1 Dash Orange Bitters
Garnish with cherry and lemon twist. Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Hot Rye Bijou
1 oz Rye Whiskey • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth • 1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 dash orange bitters
Spring Feeling Cocktail
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse • ¾ oz Lemon Juice
Stir well in ice and strain into glass.