Updated at: 23-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Caught wondering what chartreuse really is? This centuries-oldherb-infused liqueur has a history as rich and complex as its flavor.

In this article, you’ll journey into understanding the French originsunique creation process, and various ways to enjoy Chartreuse.

Intrigued? Then let’s unravel the mystery of Chartreuse!

What Is Chartreuse?

What Is Chartreuse (1)

Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur made with 130 different herbs and botanicals, known for its unique flavor and color.

A French herbal liqueur

Step into a world of unique flavors, tantalizing complexity, and centuries-old secrets – welcome to the world of Chartreuse.

This French herbal liqueur is a masterpiece crafted by the diligent hands and guarded recipe of Carthusian monks in Voiron, France.

Over 130 different herbs and botanicals are meticulously selected and blended to create this fascinating drink that dates back to the 16th century.

Its distinct green color owes its charm to chlorophyll while yellow Chartreuse gets its hue from saffron.

Though boasting an impressive alcohol content—55% ABV for green Chartreuse—it’s not just about high spirits; consuming Chartreuse unveils layers upon layers of sweet, herbal notes intertwined with history and tradition.

With approximately 103-122 calories per shot, it offers gastronomical delight without weighing heavily on your diet routine.

More than a simple liqueur enjoyed neat or on rocks, Chartreuse has earned stellar reputation as a versatile mixology ingredient appearing in numerous innovative cocktails worldwide.

Produced with 130 herbs and botanicals

Chartreuse is a unique and intriguing herbal liqueur that is produced using an impressive combination of 130 different herbs and botanicals.

The careful selection of these ingredients contributes to the complex and distinctive flavor profile that Chartreuse is known for.

Crafted in the Voiron region of France by the Order of the Carthusians, Chartreuse follows a secret recipe passed down through generations of monks since the 16th century.

The herbs and botanicals are macerated in alcohol, allowing their flavors to infuse over several hours.

This meticulous process results in a bold and flavorful liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in various cocktails.

How Is Chartreuse Made?

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Crafted by French monks using a secret recipe

Crafted by French monks in Voiron, France, Chartreuse is a unique herbal liqueur made using a secret recipe that dates back to the 16th century.

The Carthusian monks of the Order of the Carthusians carefully macerate over 130 herbs and botanicals in alcohol and steep them for hours to create this extraordinary drink.

The exact ingredients and proportions remain a closely guarded secret, known only to a few members of the monastic order.

This centuries-old tradition ensures that every bottle of Chartreuse preserves the distinctive taste and character cherished by aficionados around the world.

Macerated herbs and botanicals in alcohol

The process of making Chartreuse involves macerating a combination of herbs and botanicals in alcohol.

This means that the herbs and botanicals are soaked or steeped in alcohol, allowing their flavors and essences to blend together.

The specific recipe for Chartreuse includes over 130 different plants, which gives this liqueur its unique taste and character.

It is this meticulous process that allows the complex flavors of the herbs and botanicals to infuse into the alcohol, creating a rich and distinctive flavor profile for Chartreuse.

Whether enjoyed on its own or mixed into cocktails, Chartreuse offers a one-of-a-kind taste experience for those looking to explore the world of herbal liqueurs.

Steeped for several hours

During the production process of Chartreuse, after the herbs and botanicals are macerated in alcohol, they are then steeped for several hours.

This allows the flavors and aromas to infuse into the liquid, resulting in a complex and herbal taste profile that is characteristic of this French liqueur.

The length of time that Chartreuse is steeped contributes to its depth and richness, creating a truly unique drinking experience.

Different Varieties of Chartreuse

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Green Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse is a vibrant and potent herbal liqueur that packs a punch with its high alcohol content.

With an impressive 110 proof or 55% ABV, it is not for the faint of heart. This intense version of Chartreuse delivers a powerful herbal profile that blends perfectly with cocktails or can be enjoyed on its own.

Made by French monks using a secret recipe dating back to the 16th century, Green Chartreuse is crafted through maceration of over 130 herbs and botanicals in alcohol.

Its distinct green color comes from chlorophyll, giving it an eye-catching appeal.

So if you’re looking for a strong and flavorful experience, give Green Chartreuse a try – but remember, savor it responsibly!

Yellow Chartreuse

Yellow Chartreuse is a delightful variation of the famous French herbal liqueur. With an alcohol content of 80 proof or 40% ABV, it offers a slightly milder taste compared to its green counterpart.

Like all Chartreuse varieties, Yellow Chartreuse is crafted by the skilled Carthusian monks using their secret recipe that dates back to the 16th century.

This vibrant yellow liqueur gets its color from saffron and is known for its complex flavor profile with hints of herbs, spices, and flowers from its blend of over 130 botanicals.

Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails, Yellow Chartreuse provides a unique drinking experience that combines tradition and craftsmanship in every sip.

Chartreuse VEP

Chartreuse VEP, which stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé, is a special version of Chartreuse that undergoes extended aging to enhance its flavor and complexity.

This premium variety is aged in oak barrels for at least ten years, allowing the herbal liqueur to mellow and develop even further.

The result is a smoother and richer taste profile with intensified notes of herbs, spices, and botanicals.

Chartreuse VEP is highly sought after by enthusiasts due to its rarity and limited availability.

It offers a unique drinking experience for those looking to indulge in the finest craftsmanship of this iconic French spirit.

White Chartreuse

White Chartreuse is a lesser-known variety of this beloved herbal liqueur. Made with the same secret recipe and crafted by the Carthusian monks, White Chartreuse offers a unique twist on the traditional green and yellow versions.

It boasts a lower alcohol content than its counterparts, making it a lighter option for those looking to enjoy the complex flavors of Chartreuse without as much punch.

With its distinct taste and subtle sweetness, White Chartreuse is perfect for mixing into cocktails or savoring on its own.

So whether you’re exploring new drink options or simply curious about all things Chartreuse, don’t overlook this retro-inspired version that adds an extra layer of elegance to any libation.


Génépi is a type of herbal liqueur that is closely related to Chartreuse. It is made from the Génépi plant, which grows in the mountains of France and Italy.

This unique herb lends a distinct flavor and aroma to the liqueur.

Génépi has a slightly floral and herbal taste with hints of mint and camphor. It is often enjoyed as an apéritif or used as an ingredient in cocktails.

The alcohol content can vary depending on the brand, but it typically ranges between 30% and 40% ABV.

Génépi offers a delightful alternative for those who appreciate the complex flavors found in Chartreuse but prefer something lighter in both taste and potency.

How to Enjoy Chartreuse

Can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails

Chartreuse is a versatile liqueur that can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails, Chartreuse offers a unique flavor experience.

Its complex and herbal taste profile makes it a popular choice for mixologists looking to create inventive drinks.

As a stand-alone drink, Chartreuse can be sipped slowly to savor its rich flavors. When served on the rocks, the coolness of the ice helps to mellow out its intense herbal notes.

For those who enjoy experimenting with mixology, Chartreuse can be used as an ingredient in countless cocktail recipes for added depth and complexity.

Whether you’re seeking a traditional digestif or an exciting addition to your next cocktail creation, Chartreuse offers endless opportunities for enjoyment.

Versatile ingredient in mixology

Chartreuse is not just a liqueur to be sipped on its own, but it’s also an incredibly versatile ingredient in mixology.

With its unique flavor profile and complex herbal notes, Chartreuse adds a bold and distinctive twist to any cocktail.

Whether you’re shaking up a classic martini or experimenting with your own signature creation, Chartreuse can elevate the taste experience to new heights.

Its rich history and meticulous craftsmanship make it a favorite choice among bartenders worldwide.

So next time you’re looking for something special to impress your guests or simply want to indulge in some creative mixology, don’t forget about the incredible potential of Chartreuse as an essential ingredient in your drink repertoire.

Served as a digestif or an aperitif

Chartreuse is a versatile herbal liqueur that can be enjoyed in multiple ways, making it perfect as both a digestif and an aperitif. As a digestif, Chartreuse is typically enjoyed after a meal to aid digestion.

Its complex and herbal flavor profile helps to settle the stomach and soothe any post-meal discomfort.

On the other hand, Chartreuse can also be enjoyed as an aperitif, which is usually consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks or incorporated into cocktails, Chartreuse offers alcoholism enthusiasts a delightful way to savor its rich history and distinctive flavors without excess indulgence.


In conclusion, Chartreuse is a unique and flavorful French herbal liqueur crafted by monks using a secret recipe.

With its vibrant green and yellow colors, complex taste, and rich history, Chartreuse has become synonymous with quality and sophistication in the world of spirits.

Whether enjoyed neat or as an ingredient in cocktails, this versatile beverage is sure to captivate the palate of any connoisseur.

So raise a glass to Chartreuse and savor the centuries-old craftsmanship that goes into each exquisite bottle.