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Green vs. Yellow Chartreuse

Can anyone explain the difference and why one would choose one over the other? Is there anyone out there who feels the need to own one of each? Favorite drinks to use it in?

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  1. Shoulda just Googled - Green is the original, stronger in flavor and proof. Yellow came later, milder and sweeter.

    Still - anyone have preference between the two? A favorite drink to use it in? A bottle of each on the shelf?

    3 Replies
    1. re: andytee

      Check your other thread, l just posted on that. The yellow VEP is a little sweeter and less alcohol. The VEP's started being made after the Tarragonia facility which produced vintage Chartreuse closed down. As far as l know both Verde and Jaune VEP came out together, they cost the same. l have liter bottles of both and many backups, l am a worrier. l drink them neat in a large tumbler or in an old liquor glass.

      1. re: andytee

        I'm a big fan of a cocktail called "The Last Word." (pre-prohibition cocktail). It consists of equal parts green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, gin, and freshly squeezed lime juice, put into a cocktail shaker with ice and strained into a cold glass (martini glass or sidecar glass). It is very sharp and not too sweet. The lime and gin balance the sweetness from the chartreuse and maraschino liqueurs.

        1. re: anewton

          It's an interesting cocktail, but it is a Prohibition era cocktail, not pre. (Sorry, cocktail geek in me coming out.)

      2. Green is usually what most people start with unless they're specifically in love with a cocktail (like my friend was with the Green Point). Eventually as your bottle collection grows in size, people get the other.

        Favorite Green recipes I've had: Bijou, Last Word, Chartreuse swizzle, Green Ghost
        Favorite Yellow recipes: Puritan & Alaska (similar cocktails), Woxum, Green Point

        I list recipes on our blog if you'd like to try any of them, or find the recipes elsewhere online.

        1. Personally, I like the Green a lot more. It just has something that the yellow doesn't... the taste makes me think of an old library for some reason. I do agree with everything Fred has said (and usually defer to his expertise). I bought Green first, and only bought the Yellow because I wanted to make some new drinks and found a fifth for $30. It has its place, but has a much less pronounced flavor. Better to use it in recipes with "gentle" flavors that would be overwhelmed by Green's complexity. I guess that I would consider Green to be an essential, whereas Yellow is a nice addition if you have the space.

          1. Thread revival. I have green and would like to try recipes calling for Yellow.

            How can I approximate Yellow using Green. Not having tasted it, I'm guessing:

            1 oz Yellow could be simulated with:
            2/3 oz Green + 1/3 oz Simple + a few threads of saffron (maybe?)

            2 Replies
            1. re: EvergreenDan

              Green has some rather sharp notes in it so no matter what you do to it, it won't be the same. I have occasionally seen Strega and yellow Chartreuse being interchanged (more for drink variants) so that might be closer. Both have that smoother herbally essence besides having similar botanicals in the mix (and having similar colors from the saffron).

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                For fun, I tried a Maiden's Kiss:
                1/3 oz Licor 43® liqueur
                1/3 oz Maraschino liqueur
                1/3 oz Triple sec
                1/3 oz Yellow Chartreuse (I used Green)
                1/3 oz Benedictine

                Good god, was it (predictably) sweet. I immediately added 3/4 oz of Lemon, and I think it could take a full ounce. And that's with substituting green for yellow.

                I'm beginning to think the sugar in liqueurs is the enemy of cocktail recipes. That is, the quest is to get enough flavor in without making it so sweet that you have to balance it with a ton of lemon or lime. On the "you can always add sugar" theory, it would be nice if liqueurs weren't so sweet to start with. It's rather like cooking with canned tomatoes or chicken stock that already has a ton of salt.

              2. Just realized that I had no idea what Chartreuse was. Thank you Wikipedia. I'd heard of it before, but I figured it for a generic liqueur like Creme de Cacao or something. I was wrong.

                After reading about it I'm curious to try it, but don't want to go out and buy a bottle.

                I don't imagine it's going to be easy to find at a bar either?

                14 Replies
                1. re: BustedFlush

                  On the contrary, I'd say that every good bar would have a bottle. Next pick a drink to try it in. Whereas Campari is pretty easy to learn to like, Chartreuse is, uh, more challenging. A small amount in a cocktail can give a pleasingly vile effect. I suppose he-men drink it straight. Probably on fire, too.

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    I'd say of the three, yellow Chartreuse is the easiest to like. Campari is less complex than green Chartreuse so it might be 2nd although I could understand people loving green Chartreuse and disliking Campari.

                    Yes, Chartreuse is delightful to drink straight. I recommend doing so especially if you have the chance to try the VEP versions -- the ones still made by the monks themselves. The VEP is more smooth (it is also 3x the price). And yes, Chartreuse burns quite well, but I have only had a bartender set it on fire once:

                    1. re: yarm

                      Here's another one where you set it alight:


                      I personally was not a huge fan of this drink the one time I made it, although it was certainly fun and a good way to use up the massive rosemary plant that my garden produced last year (the only thing, alas, that my garden produced last year).

                    2. re: EvergreenDan

                      Sorry -- my apologies -- I was referring only to green, which is the only one I've tried.

                      You sent me to the liquor cabinet to try Green, Campari, and Ramazzotti straight. It's 11am, so I stopped there. :)

                      I suppose I could see drinking them neat (or maybe iced / straight up), and in fact the Green is probably the easiest because its so sweet and, while medicinal, isn't bitter. Campari is pretty shockingly bitter (and relatively dry -- I'd call it semisweet). I'd still rather sip a single malt or cognac.

                      In a cocktail howver, I think a bit of Campari is easy to like and a bit of Green or Ramazzotti is more challenging. For example, I've converted my wife firmly to Campari. A Negroni is now one of her favorites, as is a nice Campari/Soda/Lime. A quarter oz of Campari in a Pegu Club is divine.

                      She still wrinkles her nose at Chartreuse or Ramazzotti in cocktails. I have work to do.

                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                        Hmm... I'll have to try Ramazzotti straight. It seemed like a more complex/bitter Amer Picon when it was mixed in drinks. Heavy on the orange notes from what I recall but still not challenging to drink (for me) relative to the sharper Campari. Then again, I haven't found too many Ramazzotti recipes, so if you have any to suggest, please share. I only know of Eric Alperin's Skid Row:

                        1. re: yarm

                          Ramazzotti is quite tasty straight. Also very nice cut with a bit of rum (Bacardi 8, Cruzan Single Barrel, or something else similarly aged but still light enough to drop the syrupyness a bit).

                          1. re: yarm

                            Oooh, thanks for Skid Row. Sounds delicious.

                            I've never tasted Amer Picon but I'm hoping a friend will bring some back from Paris when she goes in a few months. I'd be very interested to hear how it compares to other Amaros that easy to obtain. I'd be fun to make some Amer Picon recipes with a readily-available substitution.

                            Here's what I have for Ramazzotti recipes

                            Hoskins (much too sweet without the lime. Good with. A bit like a grown-up Margarita)
                            2 oz Tequila blanco
                            1/2 oz Ramazzotti
                            1/2 oz Cointreau
                            3/4 oz Maraschino
                            1/2 oz lime (my addition)
                            3 dash orange bitters

                            Paper Airplane (haven't tried it, but damn it looks good. Tonight!)
                            1 oz bourbon
                            1 oz rammazotti
                            1 oz campari
                            1 oz lemon juice

                            Two-a-day (Bitter, slow drinking, tasty)
                            1 1/2 oz Lairds Bonded (I used Calvados)
                            1/2 oz Campari
                            1/2 oz Punt e Mes
                            1/4 oz Ramazzotti
                            1/4 oz Creole Shrubb (or curacao) (I used Cointreau)
                            2 d Fees Barrel Aged

                            Chaplin (had this last night. Good drink. Not too bitter.)
                            3/4 oz Jim Beam Black Bourbon
                            3/4 oz dry sherry
                            3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
                            1/8 oz Cointreau
                            dash Angostura Orange Bitters

                            Midtown (my name; drink is from another forum; haven't tried it yet; spirit combination is unusual and non-intuitive)
                            1 oz Bourbon
                            1 oz tequila reposado
                            1/2 oz Amaro Ramazotti
                            1/2 oz sweet vermouth
                            1 dash Regan's orange bitters
                            1 dash Angostura bitters

                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                              The original Hoskins is a gin and Amer Picon/Torani Amer drink so it is interesting that yours swaps the Amer for Ramazotti:

                              1. re: yarm

                                I've never had real Amer, but Boudreau's Amer substitute recipe is Ramazzotti-based, so perhaps the two are relatively close aside from the orange notes?


                            2. re: yarm

                              Ironically, I got the Hoskin's recipe from DavisSqPro, according to my notes.

                              I need to try this again with Gin, I think. It reminds me a bit of a spirit-heavy Negroni variation, at least on paper.

                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                The Hoskins riff was my idea because I prefer tequila to gin. I don't have amer so I always use rammazotti and cointreau to sub for it. I don't even know what amer tastes like but based on boudreaus recipe this seems like an easy sub. It has worked out nice in a lot of my drinks! And yes the hoskins riff is sweet but I love sweet complex sippers.

                              2. re: yarm

                                What sort of gin could replace the genever in the Skid Row? Old Tom, Malacca? I'm guessing something not terribly dry.

                              3. re: EvergreenDan

                                Have you tried other amari? Amaro Lucano or Amaro Mio, for example, are both slightly sweeter and less intense and you might be able to sneak some in until she gets a taste for them. Then you can move on to Averna, Ramazzotti, and the like, and finally move on to Fernet-Branca once you've totally broken in her tastebuds. Should be a fun journey!

                              4. re: EvergreenDan

                                Campari easier to like?? You gots to be kidding. I liked Green Chartreuse the first time I tried it, I've only tried Campari once and the bitterness was so off-putting that I cant bring myself to taste another sip! Just goes to show everyone has different tastes!

                            3. I much prefer green charteuse. And I like it by itself on the rocks.

                              1. We were looking for it, for a specific recipe and unable to find yellow, only green. The Green Chartreuse was a whopping $50 for not so big of a bottle. For as much as we would use it, we decided on a different recipe.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: HighStandards

                                  You used to be able to get Chartreuse in mini-bottles here in the US (you still can in France -- including minis of the VEP expressions), which makes sense if you just want to try it out without making a commitment. I am lucky enough to have family in the Isere department, so they bring the products of Les Peres Chartreux to me fairly often, but we recently found out that the all-time best price was in Andorra (it seems the whole country is little more than a duty-free shop!) -- 13 euros!

                                  The monks of the Grand Chartreuse not only make the well known Green and Yellow varieties (along with the VEP versions), but also a couple of variations (Liqueur du 9e Centenaire, the Liqueur d'Elixir 1605, a Genepi, a Gentiane, a Walnut liqueur, and several fruit liqueurs, as well as the medicinal Elixir Vegetal). I highly recommend a visit to the distillery and caves at Voiron if you are ever in the neighborhood.

                                  You can probably tell -- I like it tremendously and wouldn't let a $50 price tag stand in my way.