The Not Green Chartreuse Set
If any spirit is truly holy, it must be Chartreuse, right? Well, no disrespect to the Carthusian Order and the Brothers who, only two at a time, hold the secret recipe to Chartreuse, but there are in fact some similar alternatives out there for the layperson lover of the legendary liqueur. For years, if you had come into our store and said "I'm looking for an alternative to Green Chartreuse", we would have probably proclaimed it blasphemy, but both new products and wider availability of traditional spirits have changed our tune from the monophonic chant of Carthusian praise we used to sing. Though Chartreuse may still be THE legend, and THE center of our herbal devotion, here are our picks to widen the scope of your boozy liturgy.
Brucato Chaparral Amaro is a fairly new store favorite made locally right here in San Francisco. When we first tried a sample of this magical stuff, we were floored by how closely it nails the key elements of the Chartreuse profile, while also imbuing that with a unique charm all its own. Named for the California chaparral that covers the foothills and mountain slopes along the coast, it shows a slightly softer (less boozy) approach, with a brighter and fruitier personality. The dominant ingredients are yerba santa, spearmint, and cardamom. (750 ml)
Faccia Brutto Centerbe Liqueur is a Brooklyn made spin on a traditional Italian liqueur style that many compare to Chartreuse in its generally very robust herbal profile. Literally meaning "a hundred herbs", this modern take cuts that down to a lean twenty different herbs, leaves, and seeds, some fresh and some dried. The result is a bittersweet liqueur that balances that signature medicinal note with refreshing brightness, like taking a early morning walk through an alpine meadow, just as the dew is evaporating. (750 ml)
Dolin Genepy Les Chamois Liqueur is a true classic. If you have spent any time in the alps, especially skiing, then you may know Genepy, or Genepi as it is often spelled, as the traditional apres ski of choice at more traditional taverns and lodges. Much lighter in body and intensity than Green Chartreuse, it is a favorite of ours to cocktail with when Chartreuse is just too domineering, or to sip on when we need to feel that alpine lift. Minty and vegetal, sweet and sophisticated. (750 ml)