13 Best Chartreuse Substitute

Chartreuse liqueur is versatile, unique, and flavorful liquor. They are probably the most popular cocktail option in many dishes, including desserts and savory dishes. The only trouble with this liqueur is it can be pretty expensive and difficult to find. So, it is usual for drinkers to seek for alternative.

However, the best chartreuse substitute includes Genepy, Sambuca, Strega, Jägermeister, Absinthe, Drambuie, Glayva, Amaro, Fernet Branca, Grand Marnier, Benedictine, Angostura Bitters, Orange Juice. Continue reading for more details.

What Is Chartreuse

Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur initially created by the Chartreuse Order of monks of the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France long ago with mystery ingredients. After centuries of eaux-de-vie development, the recipe and process for making Chartreuse were finalized in 1764.

Chartreuse is one of the oldest spirits available, with naturally vibrant color. Since the late 1890s, it has been a staple in many bars and used as a base for various cocktails.

It is believed that those Carthusian monks mixed 130 plants and herbs to create this unique elixir using their secret recipe. And also there are two main types of it: Yellow Chartreuse, Green Chartreuse, and Chartreuse V.E.P. Green Chartreuse, or Chartreuse Verte,  is the most common form of liqueur.

It is also a popular choice in many cocktails and the most common variety available, and it contains 55% alcohol by volume (A.B.V., 110 proof) per bottle. Also, it offers a beautiful bouquet of flavors with hints of cinnamon, citrus, clove, thyme, and rosemary, which is intensified by the high alcohol content.

One of the most popular is Bijou and Negroni. However, Yellow Chartreuse, also called Chartreuse Jaune, is a lighter variant that contains only 40% A.B.V. or 80 proof. Yellow Chartreuse is rare and contains sweeter notes such as licorice, anise, citrus, and honey.

Meanwhile, yellow Chartreuse is prevalent in a Simos cocktail with equal parts of mezcal, Aperol, and lime juice.

Chartreuse V.E.P. which stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge meaning “Exceptionally Prolonged Aging,” this is the combination of both green and yellow Chartreuse. V.E.P. variety usually comes in a wooden box which has a wax seal around the cork.

And it produces a mellow flavor and smoother texture, often three times more expensive than standard Chartreuse.

How to Substitute Chartreuse 

What makes Chartreuse liqueur so unique is the secret recipe of using over 130 different plants and herbs. Since this list is so covert, to replicate Chartreuse with another liqueur or blend of bitters can be hard. 

The flavor of Chartreuse is spicy, herbal, and smooth. There’s a bit of sweetness with honey tones. Chartreuse is also somewhat boozy, meaning you can taste the alcohol and herbs. The tasting notes includes apple, mint, gentian, sage, and vanilla. 

When looking for a replacement for Chartreuse, remember to find something herbal, boozy, and smooth. If the look of the cocktail is also essential, you might find something as vibrant as Chartreuse.Try not to find anything that will be too syrupy and sweet. 

But remember that there’s no identical alternative to Chartreuse. You will find a close alternative.

Best Chartreuse Substitute

Chartreuse is probably a familiar favorite if you’re a cocktails fan. Either green or yellow Chartreuse is used in many cocktails and creates unique desserts with a perfect aroma. But sometimes, you may not have it readily available for making your favorite drink.

So, here we have the 13 best chartreuse substitute you can try!

1. Genepy

Genepy is the closest Chartreuse substitute to use. It is Made in the French Alps; also, it is a herbal liqueur that is not too sweet but can be added to many cocktails. It is also somewhat greenish in hue and is an alpine liqueur with a minty, sweet, herbaceous, and citrusy flavor, similar to Green Chartreuse.

Also, the light olive color is similar to Yellow Chartreuse. However, you may find that it also reminds you of Absinthe but without the bitterness.

Genepy is not as sweet as Chartreuse and lacks the licorice or anise overtones. But still, it can be an excellent chartreuse substitute in cocktails like Last Words alongside gin, Maraschino liqueur, and some lime juice. Last Words is one of the most classic Green Chartreuse cocktails.

2. Sambuca

Sambuca is a famous Italian liqueur often used as a chartreuse substitute. It is colorless and heavy in the anise department, and Sambuca is surprisingly similar in flavor to Green Chartreuse. It was first developed almost 200 years ago in the Italian commune of Civitavecchia by Luigi Manzi.

The name comes from the Latin word Sambucus, which means elderberry, giving it a hint to the tastes inside. It is sweetened with sugar and a combination of herbs and spices, Sambuca is ideal in many ways. The taste and color can be placed in many recipes as you’ll get stunning and unique results.  

It can be served neat, mixed with fruity flavored drinks, creamy cocktails, coffee, and even added in coffee or cooked like in desserts. 

Also, Sambuca has a note of pineapple, coconut, mint,and figs that balance out the anise/licorice. Remember that you should use only white Sambuca as a Chartreuse substitute, because  black Sambuca has a different flavor profile which does not match the herbaceous notes of Chartreuse.

3. Strega

Strega is a cheaper Chartreuse substitute and also has a similar flavor profile. Once called “witches’ liqueur,” Strega has a minty finish with a touch of bitterness that blends out cocktails nicely.

Strega has about 70 botanical ingredients just like Chartreuse, such as mint, juniper berries, and saffron making Strega liqueur a substitute for Chartreuse. It has an A.B.V. of 40% (80 proof).

Also, Strega is usually compared more often to Yellow Chartreuse. It has a lighter and less alpine than Chartreuse and is often mixed in cocktails like Last Word or Biter as they share a pleasant bitterness and sweet traces with a mint finish.

4. Jägermeister

Jägermeister is one of the most popular drinks worldwide. It is a German digestif, and it is made out of different herbs that contribute to the very complex and deep flavor, which is a good Chartreuse substitute.

Made with 56 herbs and spices such as clove, anise, ginger, cinnamon, juniper berries, and poppy seed, it has a complex flavor with sweet and citrusy notes and a slight floral scent similar to that of Green Chartreuse. It’s also vegan and has 35% A.B.V. It can be taken straight on its own, added to cocktails, and used in cooking.

It is popularly used while preparing grilled meat, specifically Jägermeister steaks.

5. Absinthe

Absinthe is derived from herbs such as grand wormwood, fennel, anise, and a host of culinary herbs, and Absinthe is a nearly Chartreuse substitute. It has a high volume of alcohol, about 70%. It is served in many ways and can be used as a Chartreuse substitute. 

But it would be best to be careful when alternating and diluting; otherwise, it might be too bitter. Also, both share the same color and flavor, which can be an excellent substitute for many cocktails.

6. Drambuie

Drambuie is a Scotch whisky base liqueur often used as a Chartreuse substitute due to its similar sweet flavor and green color; Drambuie has about 40% A.B.V. and is flavored with scotch, honey, herbs, and spices. Drambuie might be woodier and sweeter than Chartreuse, with less herbaceous.

However, it works well in a cocktail and for some cooking recipes. Its sweet flavor makes it an excellent addition to desserts, making them more flavorful and aromatic. Also, you can drink Drambuie straight, mixed with ginger beer, over ice, or mixed into coffee.

It also pairs nicely with whiskeys, brandy, and tequila. When added to savory dishes in place of Chartreuse, you must be careful because of sweetness, so you must reduce the amount accordingly.

7. Glayva

Glayva is often touted as the best possible substitute for Chartreuse, originating from Edinburgh. This scotch liqueur is made with a blend of spices, including cinnamon, honey, and almond, making it a sweet and smooth liqueur with a rich aroma.

However, Glayva will give you that delightful hints of tangerine and floral notes that whisky is known for. Using Glayva as a Chartreuse substitute is bound to make for some enticing flavor combinations, so get creative!

You can use Glayva in baking for more aroma and taste.

8. Amaro

Amaro is a type of Italian digestif that is bittersweet. It can be made by infusing wine with different herbs, flowers, roots, bark, and citrus peels and allowing the mixture to age in oak casks. 

Meanwhile, some of the herbs used in flavoring include lemon balm, mint, cardoon, juniper, anise, and many others. This herbal liqueur has a bittersweet flavor and up to 40% A.B.V., which means it has a medium-high alcohol content. Amaro is a cooking liqueur and also use in drinks.

It is a Chartreuse substitute and can also be added to many cocktails. It is also a popular ingredient in baking, particularly in cookies and cakes.

9. Fernet Branca

Another Italian brand can be used as a chartreuse substitute. It is made from herbs, such as angelica, chocolate, bitter aloe, quinine, cinchona, and Chinese rhubarb, and left to age. Its alcohol content is about 40%, with low sugar content.

The flavor of this herb liqueur is so bitter and full of black licorice that it is an acquired taste. St. Still also possesses a few orange bitters, making it a unique drink and a superb alternative for Chartreuse.

However, Fernet Branca works as a Chartreuse substitute when you want the licorice tones to stand out in the cocktail. It is also a reasonably priced alternative. It pairs well with gin, sour whisky mix, lime, Italian Amaro, or bitters.

9. Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is an excellent substitute for Chartreuse.  It is made by the distillery of orange and vanilla. Due to the orange component, Grand Marnier liqueur contains that recognizable orange flavor but has a pleasant aroma. It may be more accessible than Chartreuse in liqueur stores.

For example, you can mix Grand Marnier with cranberry juice for a refreshing beverage. You can also drizzle some of this liqueur over vanilla ice cream. However, it is best used for roasting meat, duck, and poultry. It can also be used in some cocktails to create a deliciously complex drink.

Also, it doesn’t have a flavor profile similar to Chartreuse Liqueur but has a unique taste.

10. Angostura Bitters

Angostura bitters is an aromatic and spicy blend of herbs, including cloves and cinnamon. It is mainly used for flavoring beverages. It is very concentrated and has about 45% alcohol by volume (A.B.V.).

The spices in Angostura bitters include cloves and cinnamon, and the bitterness might bring to mind some of the medicinal feelings of Chartreuse. This spicy, aromatic blend of herbs is very concentrated and might not work in recipes where the Chartreuse flavor might be more understated.

Also, it can be used in many cocktails and is known for its use in whiskey. When substituting angostura bitters for Chartreuse Liqueur, it might not work in some recipes because of the different flavors.

11. Orange Juice

Orange juice is a surprising chartreuse substitute in this list.  It can replace Chartreuse in many dishes and is contains vitamins and minerals. It can be used in marinade dressings and salads, as well as in sauces and glazes. It can also be added to desserts, marmalades, and appetizers.

It represents a perfect substitute for Chartreuse in ice creams and parfaits.

12. Spice Blend 

If you are only looking for a substitute with the spiciness of Chartreuse, you might be able to make a blend of spices all your own. Try experimenting with different ones; remember that there are over 130 spices in Chartreuse, and they’re not all known, so you’ll have to be creative.

Nevertheless, you can try using some herbs like basil, sage, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, cumin, mint, elderflower, chamomile, cloves, allspice, and lavender. Dried apple peels and vanilla could help as well. 

13. Benedictine

Benedictine is another French liqueur that can be used in place of Chartreuse; a wine merchant developed it in the 19th century, and it is a spicy blend of many herbs, flowers, roots, and berries. It was made with 27 herbs and spices, just like Chartreuse. It contains about 40% A.B.V.

Benedictine includes flavorings such as angelica, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, mace, juniper, fir, aloe, vanilla, cloves, tea, thyme, coriander, lemon and lemon balm, and red berries. Also, Benedictine has a complex flavor but is not the same as Chartreuse, but its spices blends make it stand out as a good substitute.

It has a rich, spiced flavor suitable for cocktails, some of which are Bijou, chocolate mixture, and Last Words cocktails. Alongside clear gin and vermouth, it can add some extra sweetness to the Bijou cocktail.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a Green Chartreuse or Yellow Chartreuse alternative, these are some of the best options. While no exact substitute for Chartreuse may exist, plenty of liqueurs mirror the unique flavor.

Chartreuse is herbaceous, floral, and bitter all at once, so depending on the kind of drink you are making, you can opt for a Chartreuse substitute that enhances the flavor you want. Therefore, some of the best substitutes are Genepy, Drambuie, and Jägermeister.

However, don’t be confused. Just pick any of these substitutes and experiment! An experience, they say, is the best teacher. Good luck.

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