Are you curious about Yellow Chartreuse, but have no idea how to use it or which ingredients are the best substitutes?
The bright yellow herbal liqueur has been popular since the 1700s and is common in some cocktail recipes.
If you’ve never had it before, there are a few simple ways to incorporate Yellow Chartreuse into your drinks, including using its flavor notes for compounding spirits and adding a little sweetness.
If the unique flavor of Yellow Chartreuse does not tickle your fancy, there are five alternatives that capture similar taste profiles ranging from Amaretto to whiskey-based cocktails.
Read on to learn more and give your drinks a hit of sweetness with one of these perfect substitutions.
What is Yellow Chartreuse?
Yellow Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks in France.
It has a unique and complex flavor profile as it includes 130 herbs, plants, and flowers.
The bright yellow color of Yellow Chartreuse comes from the addition of saffron.
Yellow Chartreuse is a unique liqueur because cooking it over low heat allows its flavors to be slowly released while retaining much of its original herbal qualities.
This makes it increasingly popular among mixologists and those looking to craft specialty drinks with a subtle flavor.
When looking for this particular liqueur, you may find it difficult to locate due to its limited availability and high price point compared to other less expensive options.
That being said, it has many uses in cocktails and savory dishes, along with interesting history as one of the oldest alcoholic beverages still made in the world today.
To use Yellow Chartreuse in cocktails or beverages, try substituting smaller quantities of Grand Marnier or Cointreau with ½ ounce of Yellow Chartreuse along with ¼ ounce fresh lemon juice to replace 1 ounce of Orange Liqueur.
Depending on the cocktail recipe you’re following, you may also substitute half an ounce each of sloe gin and yellow creme de menthe for 1 ounce Yellow Chartreuse if needed.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse
But for those who are completely unfamiliar with its taste, or for those who don’t have easy access to Yellow Chartreuse, what are the best substitutes? We’ve rounded up the five best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse below to make your mixing experience easy, exciting and always delicious:
1 – Strega
Produced in Benevento, Italy, Strega is a yellow-hued herbal liqueur composed with a blend of dozens of different herbs and spices.
Founded in 1860 by Lodovico Branca and Guido Maria, Strega has been made following the same recipe for centuries and continues to be produced to this day.
It has a unique flavor that can be described as sweet and herbal with hints of anise, mint, cinnamon, saffron, thyme, oregano and juniper berries.
For the best results in cocktail applications where Yellow Chartreuse would be called for, you may want to choose Strega instead.
Pour it over ice or use it in place of other liqueurs including Triple Sec or Grand Marnier.
2 – Genepy
Genepy is an herbal liqueur that hails from the Italian mountains near Monte Rosa and the Swiss Alps.
It’s made from a combination of over 20 native Alpine herbs that have been macerated in alcohol to extract the unique flavors.
The most commonly used herbs are alpine mint, St.
John’s wort, valerian root, and gentian root.
It has a slightly sweet taste at first with a lingering bitterness on your palate.
The herbal flavors can be compared to Green Chartreuse but without much of the sharpness or heat of alcohol.
Genepy offers a more subtle herbal flavor that is great for lower ABVs mixed drinks such as spritzers and sangrias or for cocktails such as margaritas and Bloody Marys.
3 – Glayva
Glayva is another liqueur that was created in Scotland back in 1947 that makes a great substitute for Yellow Chartreuse.
It has a rich whisky base complimented with herbs and spices to create a very full-bodied flavor.
Its dominant notes are of honey, orange peel, almond and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
It has a rich golden-yellow color similar to Yellow Chartreuse’s signature hue and can be enjoyed both neat or mixed into cocktails.
The sweetness from the honey makes Glayva an especially nice drink to warm up with during colder months.
4 – Sambuca
Sambuca is an Italian herbal liqueur flavored with the star anise, elderflower, licorice root and other herbs and spices.
Its flavor is similar to a milder version of the Jenever, another herbal liqueur with a strong taste provided by juniper berry.
As for its color, it might lack the life of light green colors given by Yellow Chartreuse but Sambuca comes in many variations like white and black colors as well.
When it comes to substituting it in cocktails that call for Yellow Chartreuse, adjust your amount according to your desired flavor and color pallet you are trying to achieve.
Even though sambuca has a unique flavor it might work as equal partner or even surpass the desired flavors.
As mentioned earlier its rather mild character will collaborate quite well when mixed with complementary ingredients like coffee, elderflower or cardamom.
5 – Jagermeister
Jagermeister is a German liqueur made from 56 herbs, fruits and spices.
It has an herbal flavor, similar to yellow chartreuse with extra notes of licorice, aniseed and saffron.
While it is not as sweet or complex as yellow chartreuse, its intense herbal flavor provides a pleasant alternative in cocktails.
Jagermeister has an ABV of 35%, so it needs to be added cautiously to drinks; especially when substituting for yellow chartreuse which has a much higher ABV of around 55-57%.
In conclusion, Yellow Chartreuse is an interesting and unique herbal liqueur that has a distinct flavor profile and aroma.
It’s an essential addition to any well-stocked home bar and can be used in a wide variety of classic and modern cocktails.
Unfortunately, Yellow Chartreuse may not always be available, especially if you live in certain areas.
If so, it’s useful to know what the best alternatives are.
All five of these products have similar sweet herbal notes that offer a great alternative in drinks that call for Yellow Chartreuse.