While chartreuse is traditionally referred to in the context of the color – it’s a yellowish green that was prevalent between the late 1950s and early ’70s in American interior design – it’s also a French liqueur, available in both yellow and green varieties.
The liqueur is distilled by Carthusian monks and was invented in the early 18th century. It’s made at the Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains about 50 miles northeast of Grenoble, France.
Chartreuse has a rich history of secret recipes, intrigue, and exile, and only a few monks hold the recipe for chartreuse, which is aged with 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, creating a sweet, spicy, and pungent flavor. Chartreuse can be served straight or crafted into cocktails like the Last Word, Bijou, or the après ski favorite Verte Chaud.
Green Chartreuse is a potent alcohol, at 110 proof. The milder yellow Chartreuse is also no slouch, at 80 proof, equivalent to a standard vodka, whisky, gin or rum.
Click through this gallery to learn more about Chartreuse, the liqueur, and see some menu inspiration.