Yellow Chartreuse - Drink Secrets

Yellow Chartreuse

The Golden Drink


The Yellow Chartreuse is a mildly sweet and aromatic drink made by the Carthusian Monks of France. Tradition has it that the marshal of King Henry IV gave the recipe of an “elixir for a long life” to the monks, circa the 1600s. The recipe called for 130 different herbs and flowers to be mixed with a secret ingredient in a wine alcohol base. The beverage produced by the mixture was originally intended to be medicinal in nature. In 1737, a monk named Brother Gérome Maubec made some additions to the recipe and the drink was sold as an elixir to the masses. Later the monks adapted the elixir into a liqueur and called it the Green Chartreuse. It became a very popular drink and was enjoyed by many until the monks were expelled from France in 1793.


In 1838, the monks were allowed to return to France where they developed the Yellow Chartreuse – a milder, sweeter, and more aromatic version of the original Green Chartreuse. The green color of the liqueur (produced by chlorophyll) became yellow after the addition of honey and saffron to the mixture. Today, the recipe for this drink is a closely guarded trade secret. It is said that at any given time, the recipe is known only to two monks who are involved in the production of this liqueur.


The Yellow Chartreuse, although milder than its original counterpart, still asserts a strong flavor. It is generally consumed straight and served very cold. The liqueur is also used in many mixed drinks and classic cocktail recipes. Some of the well known cocktails which contain the Yellow Chartreuse are: the Jewel of the Nile, the Witch's Brew, the Xanthia Cocktail, the Alaska Cocktail, the Chocolate Cocktail, the Detroit Diesel, the Widow's Kiss, the Flaming Lamborgini, and the Drink Without a Name.


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