Green Chartreuse is the only liqueur in the world with a completely natural green color. It is powerful and unique. Only two Chartreuse monks know the identity of the 130 plants, how to blend them and how to distill them into this world famous liqueur. They are also the only ones who know which plants they have to macerate to produce the natural green and yellow colors. And they alone supervise the slow ageing in oak casks.
Chartreuse is a somewhat mythical spirit, an ingredient featured in many of the most expensive cocktails available (an Australian bar once offered a drink called the Winston made from the finest cognac, Grand Marnier, Chartreuse, and a dash of Angostura Bitters — it cost upwards of $12,000 and made the Guinness Book of World Records).
The high price tag for luxury Chartreuse is associated with its uniqueness. Chartreuse is naturally greenish in color and made from carefully guarded, complicated French recipes. The herbaceous flavor is difficult to replicate with any other type of spirit, making Chartreuse a truly one-of-a-kind tasting experience.
Whether you’re spending a base $60 for a standard bottle of Chartreuse or thousands of dollars for one of the aged, rare brands, it seems a shame to dilute the green spirit as a mixer in a cocktail.
Typically, you would enjoy it as an after-dinner drink, served super-chilled in a Chartreuse glass — a vessel similar to a brandy snifter but with a slight flair around the rim. Drinking Chartreuse straight allows you to fully appreciate the complexity of its distinct citrus, herbal, and honey flavors with notes of anise and licorice.
While they can be difficult to track down, the classic way to enjoy this special green spirit is in a Chartreuse glass. However, you could substitute it with any small, tulip-shaped glass instead. Traditionally, one would drink Chartreuse neat or on the rocks, though the flavor can change dramatically depending on its temperature.
Most prefer Chartreuse on the extra-chilly side, and some bartenders go so far as to keep a bottle in the freezer for that very reason. Chartreuse is also a popular ingredient in gin or tequila-based cocktails — try a small splash next time you’re making a margarita or martini.
A bottle of Chartreuse is an excellent gift for someone who enjoys unique liqueurs or perhaps is a budding mixologist. It’s not your run-of-the-mill spirit, so be sure to gift it to someone who would appreciate the complex, herbal, and anise flavor.
Chartreuse is notoriously expensive, especially the rarer, older varieties you might find in Europe, but a standard 750mL bottle of Chartreuse Green Liqueur will still cost you upwards of $70. Chartreuse is such a bold flavor that the recipient will likely use the same bottle for some time, so it’s a solid investment for any well-stocked home bar.