Wine Types

Chartreuse Wine Information

The history of this French liqueur dates back to 1605, in Vauvert, near Paris. It was in this year that the Carthusian monks received a copy of a recipe for the "Elixir of Long Life." This potent recipe called for a base of 70% wine alcohol, plus 130 herbs and spices. By the 1700s the monks were creating a medicinal elixir based on this recipe.

In the 1800s they had expanded to include Green Chartreuse - at 55% alcohol - and Yellow Chartreuse - at a mild 40%. Green Chartreuse is the more powerful of the two, while the yellow is a bit minty and sweeter.

The monks ran into two problems over the years - Napoleon gained possession of the recipe for a short while, but found it too difficult. As the fame of Chartreuse spread, even tsars demanded Chartreuse be served at state functions. The French government, jealous of this, nationalized the monastary. The monks fled to Spain with the recipe, and despite the best attempts of the French government, they were unable to discover how to make the drink.

The monks have since returned to the monastary. Three monks are the sole holders of the secret recipe, and it is due to their efforts that the rest of the world enjoys this fine liqueur.

If you watch Murder on the Orient Express (the old one with Michael York in it), Hercule Poirot is drinking green Chartreuse on the train.

Here's Chartreuse (the bottle on the right) in a Layered Loch Ness Monster recipe -

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.