Chartreuse Is Making A Comeback In The Cocktail World

The monk-made liqueur is trending for 2024.

chartreuse cocktails

Usually, someone is speaking in hyperbole when they describe a cocktail as a religious experience, but in the case of Chartreuse, the statement is accurate. There’s so much more to this spirit than meets the eye — and with its vibrant hue, that’s saying something. For those who enjoy the art of mixology, Chartreuse is as impossible to get away from as your S.O. who tracks your location. The lush liqueur is dominating cocktail menus and the scene as well as at-home bars. Though it’s steeped in tradition with centuries-old roots, Chartreuse is making a play for the trendiest (and more colorful) beverage of 2024.

So, what exactly is this ancient elixir marking its territory in modern cocktail culture? It’s an herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks in the French Alps since the 17th century. The libation is made from distilled alcohol aged with a secret blend of 130 herbs and botanicals. Chartreuse’s verdant flavor is unique, complex, and layered, but it’s also versatile, allowing it to spruce up almost any concoction.

“In many ways, [Chartreuse] is the world's first liqueur,” Adam George Fournier, bar director at Spago Beverly Hills, says. “The original version, the Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal was developed from a manuscript given to the monks by the Duke of Estrees in 1605 that purported to contain the ‘Elixir of Long Life.’”

Fournier continues, sharing that it took the monks nearly 150 years to get the recipe right and it was originally sold as medicine in pharmacies throughout France. The green and yellow Chartreuse we know today came later and were created to be more “quaffable versions.”


Jacques Bezuidenhout who works in educational development and brand building for Liquid Productions shares the main difference between the two versions. “Green gets its color from chlorophyll and yellow from saffron,” he says.

They also vary in flavor profiles. “The flavor of green Chartreuse is big herbal, bold, with mint, pepper, pine and citrus,” Fournier describes. “The yellow is softer… from having a different blend of botanicals leaning heavier on honey and saffron as well as turmeric and anise.” Only two other versions are available in the U.S., green and yellow V.E.P. “V.E.P. stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé, or Very Exceptionally Long Aged, and is an aged version of the green and yellow respectively that is considered complete when the monks deem it so,” he explains.

“The actual process of making Chartreuse takes several weeks and involves distillation, maceration, and extraction to create its unique flavors and colors,” Fournier points out. He attributes the centuries-long momentum of Chartreuse to its “je ne sais quoi that is almost irreplaceable.” Though the demand for Chartreuse has grown rapidly in the last 20 years, the monks didn’t it intend to become a global spirits sensation. In fact, in recent years, they even put a cap on production.

“They set out for a life of quiet contemplation and worship. The making of Chartreuse is an end to that goal. They’re able to fund their lifestyle off what they produce and increasing production would get in the way of the life they want to lead,” Fornier says. Bezuidenhout adds that there are also environmental reasons for the production cap. “Keeping up with the demand of Chartreuse would require using more resources from the earth,” he says, which the Carthusian monks aren’t interested in. The irony is that the monks rebuking capitalism and refusing to increase supply to meet demand “adds an extra layer of allure to an already complex and intriguing spirit.”


Chartreuse Cocktails Rules Of Thumb

Unlike other spirits, Chartreuse is only made by one producer, so the headache of determining which brand or price point bottle to purchase is eliminated. To choose between styles, Bezuidenhout suggests good ole fashion “tasting if they prefer the green, yellow, or the VEPs.”

But there’s still work to be done at the store. When making Chartreuse cocktails there are other spirits the home bartender should have on hand. “Chartreuse mixes pretty well with most spirits such as gin, cognac, whiskey, tequila, and mezcal. It also mixes well with Champagne, vermouth, and sherry,” Bezuidenhout says.

Now that the base spirit is settled, it’s time to build your flavors. To pair with the delicious depth of flavor of Chartreuse, Fournier recommends taking inspo from island vibes. “[It] pairs incredibly well with citrus and tropical flavors like pineapple and grapefruit. The herbal component of the green lends itself to more herbaceous cocktails that utilize things like mint and rosemary while the yellow pairs very well with honey,” he says. “If you have these ingredients, you’re going to have a whole range of Chartreuse cocktails that you can mix up.”

If you’re new to Chartreuse it’s easy to get excited and go overboard, but Bezuidenhout cautions novice mixologists to exercise restraint when pouring this potion. “A little goes a long way. Start with Chartreuse as a modifier before you use it as a base,” he warns. “Try a little in your creative mix and adjust to where the cocktail shines.”

Lastly, for the purists and enthusiasts out there, you can ditch the cocktail aspect altogether. “It can be enjoyed neat as a digestive. Slowly sip on some Chartreuse at the end of a meal and think of the rich history of this brand,” Bezuidenhout recommends.

Ahead, expert-approved recipes for this vegetal liqueur variant so tasty, that you will consider taking a vow of silence and becoming a monk.

Bougie Bijou

Glee Digital Media

Fournier mixes up his version of this classic Chartreuse cocktail that features V.E.P. Perfect for after work or making any time of day a happy hour.


  • 1.5 oz Old Raj Navy Strength Gin
  • .5 oz Green Chartreuse V.E.P.
  • .25 oz Chartreuse Elixer Vegetal
  • .75 oz Cocchi DiTorino Vermouth
  • 4 dashes orange bitters


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with three kirsch-soaked cherries.

“The Last Word”

London Dry Gin

Another classic Chartreuse cocktail, this one stems from the Prophibition-era. Aka this is the cocktail that has gotten pretty much every Chartreuse lover hooked. It’s described as strong, complex, and memorable.


  • 1 1/2 parts Sipsmith® London Dry Gin1
  • 1/4 part Chartreuse® Liqueur
  • 1 part Luxardo® Maraschino
  • 1 part fresh lime
  • 1 cherry, to garnish


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Space Honey

Glee Digital Media

This boozy beverage is an out-of-this-world sipping experience. Fournier crafted the classic combination of bourbon, lemon, and honey, which gets a little punch from the Yellow Chartreuse and pulls all the flavors together. Warning, it’s impossible to only drink one.


  • 2 oz Old Forester Signature Bourbon
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz chestnut Honey
  • .25 oz Yellow Chartreuse.
  • 4 drops Propolis


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Double strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a Ginger-Honey Tuile or honeycomb.

Eden In Jalisco


Goodbye, margarita, and hello Chartreuse cocktail! Not only does this tequila-based drink mix up your drink menu, but the pear and basil flavors are a delicious departure from other Chartreuse cocktails’ tropical ingredients. While some of its ingredients are usually found during the pumpkin spice season, this boozy beverage is beautiful year-round.


  • 1.5 oz PATRÓN Silver
  • 1.5 oz pear nectar
  • .8 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz Chartreuse
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 basil leaves
  • pear slice for garnish
  • star anise for garnish


Muddle basil leaves with simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add all remaining ingredients and ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a pear slice and star anise.

Green Myth


The only myth about this drink is it’s mythical. The brightness of this drink makes your palate soar with the vibrant citrus and verdant Chartreuse flavors. An enchanted garden for your glass that weaves alcohol and magic together.


  • 1 oz Aviation Gin
  • 1 oz Blanc Vermouth
  • .5 oz Green Chartreuse Liqueur
  • .5 oz Triple Sec Liqueur
  • orange peel for garnish


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir, then strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with orange peel.

Chartreuse Swizzle

Honestly Yum

The Chartreuse Swizzle has become a modern-day classic cocktail. Marco Dionysos invented the twist on the classic rum cocktail at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, which is closing in on the original’s popularity. Dionysos’ recipe is so perfect and precise, Bezuidenhout uses it when he gets a craving for this cocktail.


  • 1.25 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 0.75 oz lime


Build the drink in a highball glass. Add crushed ice and swizzle. Garnish with a lime wheel and pineapple spear.