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For a beginner cocktail enthusiast, chartreuse is an elusive – and slightly expensive – liqueur that may seem like a daunting ingredient to work with. So what is it and how can it be used?

Following our recent feature covering the We Have The Last Word Instagram campaign, now seems like a good time to delve into one of that cocktail’s main components: chartreuse.

As a complex herbal liqueur, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that chartreuse was originally created hundreds of years ago with the intention of being used as medicine. Now it is used as a sweet and spicy flavour in cocktails and, while it has a number of different versions, the most common by far are green chartreuse and yellow chartreuse.

Green chartreuse was first developed in 1764 and is made from 130 herbs and plants. Like its colour suggests, it has a distinct vegetal taste that can easily become overpowering but used in the right balance of ingredients, it can add layers of nuance to a drink. By comparison, yellow chartreuse, developed nearly a hundred years later, is more smooth and mellow, with a sweeter taste making it a more versatile liqueur and easier to use in cocktails.

Convinced and want to try more? Here is a cocktail recipe to give you an idea of how to use chartreuse in your home-mixed drinks.

The Last Word

Let’s revisit this prohibition-era cocktail again as a basis. The equal parts recipe below is the basic, easy-to-remember recipe for the original incarnation, but you can discover hundreds of variations at the Instagram campaign we covered in recent article.

  • 1 shot Gin
  • 1 shot Green Chartreuse
  • 1 shot Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 shot Lime Juice

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into glass

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