Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Experimenting with yellow chartreuse, one of my favorite new cocktail ingredients

La Valencia
For the past year or so, one of my new hobbies has become mixology. It happened because I had been buying more and more middle- to higher-shelf liquors and enjoying them increasingly on the rocks, with nothing else other than maybe some fizzy water. Eventually I started to feel my tastebuds were demanding more complexities. So then I thought about all the great looking drinks I was increasingly seeing out at bars and restaurants.

That's when it hit me that I could do that too! Maybe not always quite as well. But by this point, I'm getting to a point where I've been confident enough to make cocktails more often for gatherings of friends and family.

So when I come across particularly good creations, or at least interestings ones, I hope to share them with you all. My latest curiosity has been to start playing around with yellow chartreuse, which costs around $60 to $70 a bottle, but is well worth it since the path it takes to that bottle is extensive. According to Liquor.com, "To make Chartreuse, monks of the Carthusian order macerate a blend of more than 130 botanicals (herbs, spices, roots, barks, and flowers) in either a sugar-beet spirit base (for green chartreuse) or a grape spirit base (for yellow chartreuse)." This happens in the French Alps and the monks recently made headlines for announcing they would not increase the supply despite the growing demand.

I have focused on the yellow version because it pairs with bourbon, run, mezcal, and tequila (which are my areas of burgeoning talent), whereas green pairs better with vodka and gin cocktails. It has a vibrant yellow color and a complex herbal and aromatic honey and spice flavor, with the exact ingredients and proportions remaining a closely guarded secret by the monks.

Anyway, here are the four recipes I've been working with for yellow chartreuse that I'm happy to share with you:


  • 2 parts rye whiskey
  • 1/2 part yellow chartreuse
  • 1/2 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash angustura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • lemon garnish
  • drink in a coupe glass
Naked and Famous
  • 3/4 parts mezcal
  • 3/4 parts aperol
  • 3/4 parts lime juice
  • 3/4 parts yellow chartreuse
The Last Word (Variation)
  • 3/4 parts lime juice
  • 1 part bourbon
  • 3/4 parts yellow chartreuse (it’s supposed to be green chartreuse but yellow is delicious)
  • cherry (I use cherry concentrate and little agave syrup for sweetness)
  • lime garnish
And the one I tried for the first time last night is La Valencia
  • 1 part whiskey
  • 1 1/2 parts manzanilla sherry
  • 1/2 part yellow chartreuse
  • 3/4 parts lemon juice
  • 1/2 part simple syrup
  • 1 dash angustura bitters
  • serve in a coupe glass
I had to substitute manzanilla sherry with dry vermouth and simple syrup with the jalepeno simple syrup I made earlier this week. Both substitutions worked really well, but I'm looking forward to the exact recipe one of these days.

If you have any yellow chartreuse recipes, please share them in the comments, and check out my second part of this blog, with more recipes.

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