Logo (since 1999)


Beverage Articles and News Section

Chef working

  You are here > Home > Food Articles



From Amateur & Basic Cooking Classes to Professional Chef Training
Over 1,000 schools & classes listed for U.S., Online & Worldwide


FREE Food & Beverage Publications
An extensive selection of free magazines and other publications for qualified Food, Beverage & Hospitality professionals




Chartreuse, green or yellow, are two French liqueurs shrouded in secrecy much like other unique products in the world. The year was 1605 and Les Peres Chartreux, at a monastery in Vauvert, a suburb of Paris, were given a secret formula by Marechal d’Estrees who was in charge of the artillery of Henry IV. The recipe was already very old; its title, “An elixir for long life”, its recipe so complex hardly anyone, except well-educated and experienced liqueur makers could understand. In those days, monks were the educated and literate elites and had liqueur production skills. A century later the manuscript was brought into daylight again, and in 1737 at Le Grande Chartreuse, the principal convent of the order, in the mountains near Grenoble. Here Brother Gerome Maubec, who had a deft touch with herbs and plants, studied it in detail. The ensuing 200 years were full of marvelous intrigue as it frequently happens with monasteries, monks, and French people in general. First there was relocation, followed by flights into exile (Spain), bankruptcy, legal and corporate wrangling, stock manipulation (and surprisingly a group of generous businessmen who bought up the near worthless shares and mailed them back to monks as a gift), fires, mudslides and more.

Two types of Chartreuse are made – yellow (40 percent ABV) and green (55 percent ABV) the strongest alcohol beverage legally sold in Canada.

The original Elixir Vegetal de la Grande Chartreuse ran to 71 percent ABV and proved to be too potent for monks who adapted the recipe to make a milder liqueur (Green Chartreuse); its success was immediate throughout Europe.

Monks still today produce faithfully according to the “original” recipe and both Chartreuse liqueurs. Only three living monks know the full recipe and they never travel together.

The products are marketed by a secular company throughout the world.
Chartreuse liqueurs consist of 130 plants, herbs, roots, leaves, barks, brandy, distilled honey and sugar syrup. The liqueurs are then aged for a suitably long time in oak casks.

Green Chartreuse should be enjoyed in a snifter after a rich meal to aid digestion.

The Yellow Chartreuse is more meant for between meals or around 4 p m as a pick me up libation.

And it is true that Sir Henry Stanley carted a few bottles on his African expeditions, and that Hunter S. Thompson loves both of them, and that the farmers in the Chartreuse mountains still mix Chartreuse with water and administer it to cows suffering from bloat. And the cats? Those are the famous grey-blue with the big golden eyes, one of the most highly regarded breeds in the world. But they have nothing to do with the taste of Chartreuse liqueurs. You must try them and see for yourself.

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu

Go to Top of Page


  Liquor & Liqueurs   |   Aperitif   |   Arak, Raki, Ouzo, Sambuca and Pastis   |   Armenian Brandy, Excellence in Distillation   |   Beware of Egg Nog: A Song of the Season   |   Brandy Producing Countries   |   Chartreuse Liqueurs   |   Cocktail, American Institution   |   Cognac Facts   |   Cognac, The Sophistacated Brandy   |   Cognac and Armagnac   |   Cointreau, Arguably the Best Orange Liqueur   |   Eaux De Vie, Fruit Brandies   |   Glenrothes Single Speyside Malt   |   Grand Marnier, Official History   |   Grand Marnier, A Refined Liqueur   |   Hine, House of Hine, A Fine Cognac Purveyor   |   Irish Whiskey   |   Liqueurs, Everything Liqueurs   |   Margarita: Origin & Recipes   |   Mint Julep   |   Pastis, The French National Drink   |   Pernod, Facts & History   |   Pomegranate Vodka   |   Rubi Rey Rum & Recipes   |   Rum, Expressions of Sunshine   |   Sangster's Original Jamaica Rum Cream   |   Sherry Brandy   |   Single Malt Whiskies of Scotland   |   Stills, Coffey and Alembic Stills  |   Vermouth   |   Vodka, Cheers Comrade   |   Vodka, Spirit of Water  
  Home   |   About Us & Contact Us   |   Food Articles   |   Gardening   |   Marketplace   |   Food Links  

Please feel free to link to any pages of from your website.
For permission to use any of this content please E-mail:
All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2024 James T. Ehler and unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.
You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.
Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright.
Please take the time to request permission.