Chartreuse is one of the most exclusive liqueurs in the world. It’s said that only two Chartreuse monks know how to create it. It is made in the mountains of France with over 130 herbs and spices. With so many ingredients, finding a substitute can be tricky.
Dolin genepy (sometimes spelled genepi), Strega, Benedictine, Galliano, and Sambuca are the best substitutes for Chartreuse.
Why substitute Chartreuse?
Chartreuse is a rare liqueur and can be hard to find. It can also be somewhat expensive. Finding a good substitute is a great choice if you are not sure if you will enjoy Chartreuse. It’s also a good way to save some cash, especially if serving to a crowd.
The best substitute for green Chartreuse
Dolin Genepy (sometimes spelled Genepi). This is made by Haus Alpenz and is a great substitute for the green Chartreuse. This liqueur has been blended in the high mountains of Savoy since 1821. It contains a rare variety of artemisia flower found only in Savoy.
The best substitute for yellow Chartreuse
Strega. This liqueur gets its yellow color from saffron ( what does saffron taste like? ). Strega is produced in Benevento, Italy, and contains about seventy herbal ingredients. A few of the herbs that give Strega its complex flavor are mint and fennel. Yellow Chartreuse is the rarest (and more expensive) version of Chartreuse. Trying Strega first is a good way to ensure you will like it before investing in a bottle of the real thing.
Other good substitutes for Chartreuse
- Galliano. This liqueur was created over 100 years ago in Italy. It is flavored with numerous ingredients including anise, juniper berry, and lavender. It also contains vanilla. Caramel helps give it the natural yellow color.
- Benedictine. This is another great choice as a substitute for chartreuse. It has been produced in France since the 19th century and is said to contain 27 herbs and spices. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. It contains such ingredients as lemon balm, thyme, clove, and honey.
- Sambuca is also a suitable replacement for chartreuse. It was created around 170 years ago and is flavored by elderberry. It also gets its unique flavor from star anise and licorice. It is missing many of the ingredients of true Chartreuse but is a good choice to get an idea of the flavor.
The bottom line
Chartreuse is a very unique liqueur that is made with a well-guarded recipe known only by two monks. Containing over 130 ingredients and made in secret, it’s hard to find a dupe that can compare!
Dolin Genepy and Strega are the closest you can get to this unique liqueur. Sambuca, Benedictine, and Galliano are also great choices when you have a taste for Chartreuse, or just want to try something similar without spending a lot of money.