Green or yellow, are both colors. Green and yellow, are both flavors… at least when we are talking about Chartreuse. What do these colors taste like? They are dominated by intense herbal flavors which are believed to come from the combination of 130 spices, herbs, and flowers. But like Coca-Cola®, KFC® fried chicken, and your mother-in-law’s meatloaf, the recipe is a secret.
Green Chartreuse, is bottled at 110 proof and bears brighter, sharper botanicals and spices than Yellow Chartreuse. Yellow Chartreuse, introduced later, is bottled at 80 proof and has distinct saffron and honey notes, offering a sweet alternative that combines nicely barrel-aged spirits, while the Green prefers gin and tequila—a general rule with plenty of exceptions.
No matter which hue you choose, this centuries-old liqueur can help create more depth and complexity to your cocktails. Whether you are adding a dash or two to a classic cocktail or serving up a Chartreuse forward concoction, these flavors are worth exploring at your home bar.
- 2 oz Irish Whiskey
- ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
- ½ oz Green Chartreuse
Add the Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
This version was originally present in Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916). This version is modified from a cocktail of equal parts, which is worth trying, but we find this one to be more balanced.
- ¾ oz Benedictine
- ¾ oz Yellow Chartreuse
- ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- ¾ oz Rittenhouse Rye
Shake all the ingredients with ice. Fine strain the mixture into a chilled coupe or small cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Green Point Cocktail
- 2 oz Rye Whiskey
- ½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
- ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.
photo by Karl Gruber