Are you wondering what Yellow Chartreuse is? Or, looking for the perfect substitution for your next cocktail?
Read on to discover all about Yellow Chartreuse and the 5 best alternatives for it.
You’ll feel confident to take your drinks to the next level.
What is Yellow Chartreuse?
Yellow Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur that was first produced in France in the 17th century by Carthusian monks.
It has a distinctive yellow color and is flavored with a variety of herbs, plants, and flowers.
It has an intensely sweet aroma, along with hints of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and other spices.
Because of its sweet flavor and aromatic qualities, it can be used to enhance the flavor of many recipes or even as an ingredient in certain cocktails.
When using Yellow Chartreuse in recipes or for cocktails, it can be added directly to a dish or mixed with other ingredients.
If using as part of a mixed drink recipe, always mix it with other liqueurs or mixers before adding to the finished cocktail.
Here are some tips on how to use Yellow Chartreuse:
- Use sparingly: A little goes a long way. Since Yellow Chartreuse has such an intense flavor and aroma, you don’t need to use more than one teaspoon per serving.
- Add early: When adding this liqueur to recipes that require cooking time (like sauces), add it early on so its flavors have time to develop during the cooking process.
- Try adding this same amount when substituting for another spirit or liqueur too — just adjust up or down depending on how sweet you like your finished product.
- Substitute for simple syrup: Yellow Chartreuse can be used as a substitute for sugar syrup (used in cocktails) when making drinks like Corpse Reviver #2 — simply add 1 tablespoon instead of 2 teaspoons of simple syrup.
- Match flavors: Be sure to match up your flavors when choosing ingredients for a recipe — you’ll want something that pairs well with the herbal notes from Yellow Chartreuse like herbs, citrus fruits (like oranges or lemons), fruits soaked in brandy (papaya), cherries, elderflower cordial, etc….
5 Best Yellow Chartreuse Substitutes to Consider
Due to its unique flavor profile, it can often be difficult to find equivalents for Yellow Chartreuse when creating drinks or using it for cooking.
Here are five substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse which can be used as alternatives:
1 – Strega
Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur made by infusing a variety of herbs and flowers with a sugar and alcohol base.
The traditional recipe for Strega is renowned for its complexity, and it was invented in 1860 by Giuseppe and Carmine Vaccari of Benevento, Italy.
It has a mild, slightly sweet taste with notes of vanilla and fennel, making it an excellent substitute for Yellow Chartreuse in drinks like the classic King’s Sidecar or the Corpse Reviver No.2.
You can find Strega at most liquor stores.
2 – Genepy
Genepy is an herbal liqueur similar to Yellow Chartreuse.
While the ingredients vary, most Genepy recipes include ingredients such as small gentian and alpine herbs.
Its flavor profile is herbal and slightly spicy with a sweet finish and more of an alcoholic “burn” than chartreuse.
The color of the liqueur is opaque yellow-green, which makes it similar in appearance to chartreuse.
When substituting Genepy for yellow chartreuse, take note that it is higher proof (around 80 proof versus 40 for yellow Chartreuse) so it will make a stiffer drink.
To balance this out, you may want to reduce the amount of genepy or increase the citrus or other components of your drink recipe accordingly.
3 – Glayva
Glayva is a Scottish liqueur made from a blend of herbs, spices and whisky.
It has a golden-yellow color and the flavor is reminiscent of honey and orange.
It is mainly used in cocktails like the Red Lion, Razmatazz or Glayva Sour but can also be used to create interesting variations of classic cocktails like the Margarita or Negroni.
Glayva can be an excellent substitute for Yellow Chartreuse as it has a similar hue and also offers herbal notes to your favorite drinks.
4 – Sambuca
Sambuca is a popular Italian anise flavoured liqueur that makes for a great substitute for Yellow Chartreuse.
It has a sweet, smooth and licorice-like flavour combined with the warmth of alcohol.
Given the high sugar content, Sambuca is significantly sweeter than Yellow Chartreuse.
It has an alcoholic strength of 38% ABV which is lower than that of Yellow Chartreuse at 40%.
In cocktails, you can use it as a replacement for Yellow Chartreuse but use extra caution because of its reduced alcoholic strength.
5 – Jagermeister
Jagermeister has a similar herbal/botanical flavor to Yellow Chartreuse and its 36% ABV concentration makes it an ideal substitute for cocktails that call for the liqueur.
Jagermeister makes use of 56 herbs, spices and fruits in its creation, but is made with German hops and ginger root.
This gives it a unique flavor profile that is described as having flavors of clove, licorice, pepper, star anise, saffron and cardamom.
Due to its high alcohol content, it should be used sparingly in drinks – the Jagerbomb cocktail shot consists of equal parts Red Bull energy drink and Jagermeister dropped into a highball glass full of ice.
Serious mixologists often shy away from using Jagermeister in their drinks due to its strong flavor profile – if you decide to use as a substitute for yellow Chartreuse you need to understand how to balance out with complementary ingredients such as juices or bitters.
To conclude, Yellow Chartreuse is an obscure French liquor that is not easily or widely available.
For those looking to make drinks without access to the classic original, there are a variety of fruit-based liqueurs and herbal mixtures that can be used as substitutes.
Additionally, depending on your tastes, you may also find many other sweet liqueurs satisfying in their place.