9 Best Substitute For Yellow Chartreuse

Yellow Chartreuse Substitute

Yellow Chartreuse, a masterpiece created by Carthusian monks, holds a revered position in the world of liqueurs for its alluring blend of sweetness, herbal notes, and spiciness. Crafted from a guarded secret recipe encompassing 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, this French liqueur is loved for its unique flavor, versatility, and distinctive yellow hue. However, its high cost and occasional scarcity necessitate a quest for suitable substitutes that can deliver a similar harmony of flavors without breaking the bank.

Our guide profiles the best substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse, offering comprehensive insights into their flavors, similarities, and unique characteristics. These substitutes, while not identical, capture the spirit of Yellow Chartreuse, each contributing their own charm to the mixology realm. Whether you’re a professional bartender seeking variety or a cocktail enthusiast wanting to experiment, these substitutes are perfect for crafting beverages with intriguing twists while maintaining the essence of Yellow Chartreuse. The best substitutes enable you to continue your mixology adventures uninterrupted, embodying a balance of sweetness, herbal complexities, and a hint of spiciness.

What is Yellow Chartreuse?

Yellow Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur produced by Carthusian monks since 1605, based on a secret recipe given to them by François Hannibal d’Estrées. The liqueur is well-loved for its distinctive color and unique sweet, spicy, and herbal flavor profile. It’s composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, which contribute to its complexity and versatility in the world of mixology.

Quick Mixologist’s Guide to Substitutes For Yellow Chartreuse

  • Strega
  • Galliano
  • Benedictine
  • Suze
  • Genepi
  • Elderflower Liqueur
  • Saffron Gin
  • Green Chartreuse
  • Honey Syrup and Herb Mixture

Best Substitutes For Yellow Chartreuse

Finding a perfect substitute for Yellow Chartreuse is quite challenging due to its unique blend of flavors. Nevertheless, there are several liqueurs and blends that can serve as effective stand-ins. The substitutes discussed below offer different flavor combinations that may not exactly replicate Yellow Chartreuse, but provide a pleasing balance of sweetness, herbal notes, and a hint of spiciness.

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Strega, an Italian herbal liqueur, is our first substitute. Produced in the Campania region of Southern Italy, Strega shares a certain degree of complexity with Yellow Chartreuse. The name “Strega” translates to “witch” in Italian, reflecting the folklore and mysticism surrounding its creation.

Strega is a blend of 70 herbs and spices, including mint, fennel, and saffron, which contribute to its characteristic yellow color. It boasts a strong, sweet, and slightly bitter taste profile with a high alcohol content of around 40%. This robust flavor palate helps it mimic some of the herbal notes of Yellow Chartreuse.

However, Strega has a distinctly different finish, characterized by a stronger sweetness and a pronounced flavor of fennel and mint. This makes it a suitable substitute for cocktails that require a herbal sweetness, but be mindful of the flavor changes it might introduce.


Galliano is another Italian herbal liqueur that serves as an excellent Yellow Chartreuse substitute. Its bright yellow color and herbal-citrus profile are reminiscent of Yellow Chartreuse, making it a reasonable alternative for various cocktail recipes.

Produced in the Livorno region of Italy, Galliano incorporates a mix of 30 herbs, spices, and plant extracts, including anise, juniper, musk yarrow, and lavender. This complex blend of ingredients is harmonized by a vanilla top note, providing a layer of sweetness.

Galliano differs from Yellow Chartreuse in its lower alcohol content (around 30%) and its prominent anise and vanilla notes. However, its multifaceted flavor profile with a mix of sweetness, warmth, and herbal undertones can adequately stand in for Yellow Chartreuse in many cocktails.


Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur, also holds its own as a Yellow Chartreuse substitute. Like Yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine has monastic origins and a closely guarded secret recipe, lending an aura of mystery to this deep golden-yellow liqueur.

Benedictine is made from 27 herbs and spices in a process that involves multiple distillations and aging in oak barrels. It has a sweet, complex flavor with hints of honey, citrus, and various herbs, akin to the intricate taste of Yellow Chartreuse.

While Benedictine lacks the spicy kick of Yellow Chartreuse and features a more honey-forward flavor, its multifaceted herbal profile makes it a credible stand-in. Its sweet, warming character can work well in cocktails that call for Yellow Chartreuse, with slight modifications to accommodate the unique flavor nuances.

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Delving into the realm of bitter liqueurs, Suze serves as a less-sweet, more bitter substitute for Yellow Chartreuse. This French liqueur is known for its golden-yellow color and distinctively bitter flavor, derived mainly from the gentian root.

Suze’s flavor profile is simpler compared to the multi-layered complexity of Yellow Chartreuse. However, its herbal and floral notes combined with the prominent bitterness can offer an interesting twist to cocktails requiring Yellow Chartreuse.

Although the sweetness of Suze is far less pronounced, its strong herbal backbone and notable bitterness can work well in cocktails that can handle a more dominant bitter element. It’s especially recommended for adventurous mixologists looking to experiment with contrasting flavors.


Genepi is another herbal liqueur of French origin that can serve as a Yellow Chartreuse substitute. This alpine liqueur gets its name from the Genepi Artemisia plant, which lends the drink its signature herbal flavor.

The flavor profile of Genepi varies significantly depending on the specific recipe used, with some versions being sweeter and others leaning towards a more bitter taste. This variability, combined with a generally lower alcohol content, sets it apart from Yellow Chartreuse.

Even so, its intense herbal flavor and hints of sweetness can stand in for Yellow Chartreuse when the recipe calls for a less potent and slightly sweeter herbal liqueur.

Elderflower Liqueur

For a floral and sweet substitute, elderflower liqueur is a viable option. This liqueur is made from the fragrant blossoms of the elderflower, and it has a unique sweet, floral, and subtly fruity flavor that can add an interesting twist to your cocktails.

While elderflower liqueur lacks the herbal complexity of Yellow Chartreuse, its unique flavor can complement many cocktails, offering a distinct floral note. However, keep in mind that this substitution can significantly alter the flavor profile of the drink, making it more floral and less herbal.

Saffron Gin

Saffron gin presents a unique substitute for Yellow Chartreuse, with its distinct color and unusual flavor profile. This gin’s vibrant yellow hue is due to the infusion of saffron, a highly prized spice known for its unique aroma and flavor.

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Saffron gin doesn’t share the sweetness or herbal complexity of Yellow Chartreuse, but its bold saffron notes and botanical gin flavors can add an intriguing dimension to cocktails. This substitute is best used in recipes where the gin’s botanicals can shine and the saffron’s unique characteristics can be appreciated.

Green Chartreuse

Last but not least, Green Chartreuse can also be used as a substitute for Yellow Chartreuse. Both are products of the Carthusian monks and share a similar base of herbs, plants, and flowers. However, Green Chartreuse has a higher alcohol content and a more pronounced herbal flavor compared to its yellow counterpart.

While Green Chartreuseprovides a more potent, less sweet profile, it can successfully replicate the herbal complexity of Yellow Chartreuse. It is particularly effective in cocktail recipes where a more robust herbal flavor and higher strength are desirable. Adjust the quantity to taste, as Green Chartreuse can potentially overpower other ingredients due to its robust flavor and higher alcohol content.

Substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse: Nutritional Profile

Here is a nutritional comparison of the substitutes for Yellow Chartreuse, based on a quarter cup serving.

LiqueurGluten (g)CaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Elderflower Liqueur0102010.800
Saffron Gin0960000
Green Chartreuse0110010.300

Note: All the data above are approximate values and may vary depending on the specific brand and recipe of each liqueur.


Yellow Chartreuse is a remarkable liqueur with a uniquely enchanting flavor profile, making it a staple in many creative cocktail recipes. But its high cost and occasional scarcity necessitate the search for viable alternatives. This guide provides a range of substitutes, each with their own charm and characteristics that can add a different twist to your mixology adventures. Whether you seek a like-for-like substitute in Green Chartreuse or prefer the floral allure of Elderflower Liqueur, there’s something to suit every palate. Keep in mind, these substitutes won’t perfectly replicate Yellow Chartreuse, but they can capture its spirit, allowing you to craft memorable and exciting beverages.

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