Yellow Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur with a unique and complicated flavor profile.
While it is rather challenging to find a substitute for this unique liqueur, it is possible to find alcoholic beverages that come close to it in terms of their flavor, alcohol content, and uses.
What are the best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse? The best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse are Strega, Genepy, Glayva, Sambuca, Jagermeister, Grand Marnier, Absinthe, and Drambuie. You can also use Green Chartreuse instead of Yellow Chartreuse.
Keep reading to learn more about Yellow Chartreuse, its substitutes, and why they work!
What Is Chartreuse?
Chartreuse is a French liqueur that has been around for over 400 years. It was first made by French monks of the Grande Chartreuse monastery.
What makes this liqueur truly unique is the fact that it is made using 130 herbs, plants, and spices. The production process of Chartreuse is another thing that makes this alcoholic beverage exceptional.
To this day, Chartreuse is made by monks. First, the needed selection of herbs is gathered and bagged. The herbs are soaked in alcohol and then distilled in copper pots. Chartreuse is aged for three to five years in charred oak casks.
Yellow and Green Chartreuse are two popular types of this French liqueur. They have bright yellow and green colors that come not from artificial additives but from the numerous herbs used to make them.
Chartreuse V.E.P. is another variety that features Yellow or Green Chartreuse that has been aged for a longer period of time. It comes with a special wax-sealed cork and in a wooden box.
Chartreuse should always be served cold. Serve it cold and it is good enough on its own.
You can also use Chartreuse in the making of various cocktails. It pairs well with such alcoholic beverages as gin, Mezcal, Aperol, Maraschino, bourbon, etc.
Less commonly, Chartreuse can be used in cooking and baking recipes.
Yellow Chartreuse: What Is It And What Does It Taste Like?
Yellow Chartreuse is a popular Chartreuse variety. It is 40% ABV and has a soft herbal flavor. Yellow Chartreuse is sweeter than Green Chartreuse and has a lower alcohol content. For comparison, Green Chartreuse is 55% ABV.
Yellow Chartreuse has prominent honey, saffron, citrus, and anise notes. You can also taste licorice and violet notes in Yellow Chartreuse.
Despite its mellow flavor profile, Yellow Chartreuse still has a complicated herbal flavor that you discover with every sip.
Thanks to its light and mellow flavor, Yellow Chartreuse has been becoming more and more popular among mixologists. It pairs especially well with such lighter spirits as gin, whiskey, brandy, vodka, rum, and tequila.
Best Substitutes For Yellow Chartreuse
There are many reasons why you might be looking for a Yellow Chartreuse substitute. You may not have it at home at the moment, you could find it to be too expensive, you might not like its flavor, you could be allergic to it, etc.
Yellow Chartreuse, just like other types of Chartreuse, has a very unique flavor. It is rather challenging and nearly impossible to find another drink that tastes exactly like Yellow Chartreuse.
With this said, it is still possible to find substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse. Here are the best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse that get as close as possible to this French herbal liqueur in terms of taste and alcohol content.
Strega is one of the best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse. Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur. Similar to the French Chartreuse, Strega is also made with herbs. It is made with 70 herbs and spices.
Strega is a light-bodied liqueur. It is sweet with a hint of bitterness and has prominent notes of mint, juniper, anise, and fennel. It also has a pleasant minty finish.
It’s not only the special herbal flavor that makes Strega a good substitute for Yellow Chartreuse, but also the color. Strega is characterized by a beautiful yellow color thanks to the saffron in it. Strega is also more affordable than Chartreuse.
Similar to Yellow Chartreuse, Strega is also bottled at 40% ABV. It pairs especially well with gin, tequila, and brandy. You can use Strega instead of Yellow Chartreuse in the making of cocktails.
Genepy is the second-best substitute for Yellow Chartreuse. It is a traditional French herbal liqueur that is produced from species found in the Alps.
Flavor-wise, Genepy is herbal and slightly sweet with notes of chamomile, feverfew, wormwood, and other herbs and flowers.
Genepy has a light-olive or pale-golden color that makes it look a lot like Yellow Chartreuse.
Similar to Yellow Chartreuse, Genepy is also best served with ice. Both liqueurs are also great served with dry vermouth.
Glayva is a Scottish whisky liqueur that is a mixture of Scotch whiskies, spices, fruits, and honey. Originating in Edinburgh, Glalyva is a good substitute for Yellow Chartreuse thanks to its sweet and warm flavor and low alcohol content.
Glayva is sweet with a recognizable honey flavor. It has notes of almonds, cinnamon, and citrusy notes of tangerine.
Glayva is only 35% ABV and works well for occasions when you are looking for that signature Chartreuse flavor but with less alcohol. This Scottish liqueur is good not only for cocktails, but also baking!
Sambuca is another Italian liqueur that you can use instead of Yellow Chartreuse. Sambuca is typically served on its own, but you can experiment with it and use it for cocktails too.
Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur with hints of licorice. Thanks to its sweet flavor and moderate alcohol content, you can use Sambuca in the making of desserts too!
White Sambuca is the most popular Sambuca variety. White Sambuca is colorless and is a better substitute for Yellow Chartreuse than its black and red counterparts.
Use Sambuca instead of Yellow Chartreuse if you want something sweeter. The alcohol percentage of White Sambuca is slightly lower compared to Yellow Chartreuse — it is 38% ABV.
Jagermeister is an herbal digestif liqueur with 35% ABV and a sweet flavor. It is made with 56 secret ingredients, including spices and fruits.
Unlike Yellow Chartreuse, Jagermeister has a thick and syrupy consistency. And still, the flavor of Jagermeister is what makes it a good alternative for Chartreuse, both Yellow and Green.
Jagermeister has notes of anise, licorice, saffron, ginger, juniper berries, and various fruits. Despite the sweetness, Jagermeister is also slightly bitter.
Jagermeister is good for making cocktails. You can also use Jagermeister in cooking — use it to make savory sauces or grill meat!
6. Grand Marnier
Grand Marnier is a well-known, orange-flavored French liqueur. Similar to Yellow Chartreuse, it is 40% ABV. Grand Marnier is made with fine cognac and distilled bitter orange essence.
Aside from the orange flavor, Grand Marnier also has notes of vanilla and oak. This makes it taste quite different from Yellow Chartreuse.
Overall though, Grand Marnier is a good pick if you are looking for a drink you can use instead of Yellow Chartreuse. Finding Grand Marnier in stores is easier. It is also more affordable than Yellow Chartreuse.
Absinthe is a highly alcoholic beverage — its alcohol percentage may range from 45-74%. Absinthe is an anise-flavored drink made with several plants. It also has hints of black licorice, wormwood, and fennel.
Absinthe is naturally green though you can get colorless and yellow Absinthe too.
Despite the differences, you can use Absinthe instead of Yellow Chartreuse in drinks where you mix it with rum, gin, and vermouth.
Unlike Yellow Chartreuse, you can’t drink Absinthe on its own. This is because the flavor of Absinthe is too strong and can even burn your tastebuds. Additionally, it has a rather high alcohol content, which isn’t exactly pleasant.
Drambuie is a golden-colored Scotch whiskey liqueur. It makes a good substitute for Yellow Chartreuse for a few reasons.
Firstly, its alcohol content is 40% ABV. Secondly, while it is made with Scotch whiskey, Drambuie contains honey, and a number of spices and herbs that create a flavor that is reminiscent of Yellow chartreuse.
Lastly, Drambuie is an amazing substitute for Yellow Chartreuse for cooking and baking recipes too. Drambuie is sweet, too, which makes it taste similar to Yellow Chartreuse in cocktails!
9. Green Chartreuse
Green Chartreuse has a sharper herbal flavor and a higher alcohol content. It is also less sweet than Yellow Chartreuse. Green Chartreuse has prominent peppery, minty, and citrus notes.
While Green Chartreuse tastes and feels different than Yellow Chartreuse, the two are both Chartreuse. They’re made with a blend of the same herbs and spices, so they can be mutually interchangeable in the making of various cocktails.
Green Chartreuse pairs well with gin, wine, tequila, maraschino liqueur, Irish whiskey, and citrus juices.
So, if you need a substitute for Yellow Chartreuse and happen to have the Green variety in your home bar, go ahead and use it (unless the yellow color of the drink matters).