There aren’t a lot of green liqueurs out there, and you might say Chartreuse has the market corned on that particular category. As unappealing as some people find it at first glance, we found it very good – and quickly became fans after enjoying our first bottle.
Chartreuse has quite the history, too. It was first distilled in 1737 by Carthusian Monks in the Chartreuse Mountains of Southern France, and started out as an elixir concocted from herbs and plants for medicinal purposes according to an ancient recipe found in a manuscript gifted to them. The drink itself was so tasty, however, that the monks soon turned it into an alcoholic beverage. To this day, only 2 monks ever know the recipe and exactly which 130 herbs go into the drink at the same time.
The unique and tasty green liquor is brewed from 130 different herbs and other plants that are macerated in alcohol, and then steeped for roughly 8 hours. Then, it’s aged in oak casks until it’s ready to drink – usually for several years. If the monks don’t think it’s quite ready yet, however, they’ll leave it in there a few years longer; Chartreuse is one of the few liquors out there that continues to get better with age, though, and it takes on a unique flavor over time.
And the taste? Strong, combining sweetness, herbal notes and a strong pungent flavor, all at once. We have to admit it takes some getting used to and definitely prefer it straight – though a Green Chaud does sound good (mixed with hot chocolate, commonly served at ski resorts in France). It’s 110 proof and best served cold.
Intrigued? Grab a bottle for yourself and give it a shot.