Green Chartreuse: How to Serve It, and Why We Love It So Damn Much

Distinguished by its bright green color and complex flavor, Green Chartreuse is a storied liqueur that's enjoying a modern-day comeback. Made by Carthusian Monks since 1737, it was originally concocted as an elixir of long life—but who knew it would turn out so much better?

Like many European liqueurs, Green Chartreuse comes with its fair share of mystique. Made from a secret blend of 130 herbs, seeds, and spices, it has a curious and impalpable flavor: sweet yet spicy, herbaceous yet refreshing, with a much smoother finish than other mystery blends like Fernet Branca or Jagermeister. The result is a liqueur that's both endlessly versatile and eminently drinkable—the hardest-working addition to your liquor collection since your grandpappy's favorite scotch.

So how is it best consumed? We're tempted to say "any way you damn please." On its own, the flavor evolves depending on its temperature: Serve it neat as a mellow after-dinner digestif, or on the rocks for a crisp, invigorating pick-me-up. Some bartenders even keep their bottle in the freezer for maximum refreshment.

That said, Green Chartreuse truly shines in a cocktail, where its sweetness makes a perfect complement to wine, citrus, and especially gin. Queen Elizabeth is said to enjoy it with bubbly—just pour a shot into a glass of champagne and finish with a splash of maraschino liqueur. You can also add a splash to your favorite gin or tequila cocktail: Martinis, Negronis, and margaritas all benefit from the liqueur's spicy and complex flavor.

Our favorite application however, is perhaps the most well-known, or at least among the speakeasy set. It's called The Last Word, a Prohibition-era cocktail that combines gin, chartreuse, and citrus in a perfect balancing act. Here's how to make it:

Ingredients for The Last Word

1 oz. Good gin
1 oz. Green Chartreuse
1 oz. Maraschino liqueur
1 oz. Fresh lime juice

Directions: Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake briskly until frost forms on the outside of the shaker (about 10 seconds), then strain into a coupe cocktail glass.

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