A Trip to France for the Chartreuse Elixir

September 27, 2012

The Chartreuse Elixir is a most magical liqueur of mystical properties.  Perhaps it's the secret recipe that has so much to do with this mystique.  There are 130 Herbs contained in each tiny bottle rolling in at 69% Alcohol by Volume. 

The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret entrusted to only three monks at a time.  Perhaps this is why it is completely unavailable in the United States?  I think so.  The Monks of Chartreuse won't give the recipe to the BATF or the FDA or to anyone.  It's a secret!  So we cannot buy it at home.  Unavailable?  Oui. 

The mere mention of Chartreuse Elixir in wine stores in France brought me plenty of empty stares.  And an empty stare when my French is grade school level or worse is a bad thing. 


My friend Raelinn actually is the person who told me about the Elixir.  It was her description of "Aromatic healing magic in a bottle" that started my hunt for this product in the first place!

First I tried the usual places.  The Internet, specialty liquor stores, friends traveling to Europe.  All came up empty.  I almost gave up several times!

Sure there are stores that sell it in Paris, but it seemed that I had so little free time to do the legwork necessary to find this liqueur.  Then something truly magical happened.  

I arrived back in Paris after I attended two "Fantastic Picnic" events courtesy of Atout France, Air France and the Bourgogne Tourisme Agency.  Using my iPhone was not an option, but I had to turn it on for one last time to find the Elixir. 

As it turned out, the Elixir was available at the duty free shop at Terminal 2E at CDG!   There was a chance I would finally find the Elixir! 

I showed up to the airport with only mere hours to spare.  Would I have enough time to find a bottle? 

The answer is yes.  There was just one bottle left in the shop. 

This bottle sits in front of me.


My cocktailian desires grew immediately.  Elixir, Mavea "Inspired Water" Splash and Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. Plus a couple drops of some really fine bitters from my friends up at Tuthilltown in New York State named Basement Bitters "Bitter Frost."

You don't need much Bourbon, nor the bitters.  The flavor of the Elixir cuts through the sweeter elements of the Bourbon and makes a party in your palate.  A trip to France without the plane ticket. 

I was propelled to a magical Chateaux in Burgundy.  Chateaux De Vault de Lugny.  I imagined a cocktail named for the Chateaux. 



Hôtel Restaurant Château de Vault de Lugny Cocktail


Chartreuse Elixir

Four Roses Bourbon

Mavea Water

Tuthilltown Basement Bitters "Bitter Frost"

Sugar Cube


Chill a short rocks glass with an Absinthe Wash (may I recommend Tenneyson, ice and Mavea Water?)

Pour into your mouth instead of pouring down the drain... (it primes you for the fun to follow)

Into the "washed" glass, please add:

1 Tablespoon of the Chartreuse Elixir

1 cube of sugar (preferably brown sugar)

2 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey

A splash of water from your Mavea "Inspired Water" Pitcher

Exactly three drops of the Basement Bitters from Tuthilltown

Sip to the ghosts who inhabit the castle at Lugny in Burgundy.  

But first put on the Hot Fives. 


I'd like to thank Atout France for bringing new light to my memories of France.  Merci. 

My friend Solène Colas from "Meeting the French" asked me to include a bit of further information on Chartreuse.  Thank you Solène!!!

Chartreuse is made in Voiron, 25 minutes away from Grenoble (Alps)
Chartreuse is made by monks (les frères Chartreux) as you know…
Here is their website for production : http://www.chartreuse.fr/index.php?lang=fr&accueil=1
They also have a beautiful monastery : http://www.chartreux.org/en/
We often drink Chartreuse with my family ! You can easily buy some in any supermarket in the Alps.

In Paris, try La Grande Epicerie or Lafayette Gourmet
Solène COLAS
Sales Manager for Japan & other Asian countries/ Marketing manager
67 rue Lepic
75018 Paris
Phone : +33 1 77 37 34 95/ +33 1 42 51 19 80


About Warren Bobrow

Warren has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews. (Served Raw, Drinking in America, DrinkGal.com, Bluewater Vodka, Purity Vodka, Botran Rum, Orleans Apple Aperitif, Marie Brizard, Art in the Age: Root, Snap, Rhuby, Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tuthilltown Spirits, Bitter Cube, Bitter Truth, Bitter End-Bitters, Bitters, Old Men…etc. etc.)
He’s written food articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, NJ Monthly, Serious Eats, Daily Candy (Philadelphia) Rambling Epicure (Geneva, Switzerland)
He is one of the cocktail bloggers for Williams-Sonoma and Foodista.
Warren is the On-Whiskey Columnist for Okra Magazine in New Orleans.
He is also a Ministry of Rum judge.
Warren is a self-taught photojournalist and shoots with the venerable Leica M8.







Raelinn's picture

Thank you so much for mentioning me in your lovely article! And that stuff IS magical!! Now, I simply must try the cocktail. It sounds amazing my dear friend! BIG HUGS!!

bigbluemeanie's picture

I'm shocked that anyone could mix Kentucky bourbon, sugar and what-have-you with "the perfect liquor. While I accept that it can only improve the bourbon, my spine is tingling with revulsion. I urge everyone to drink Chartreuse neat, as designed.

Warren Bobrow's picture

BigBlueMeanie. You made me smile. Thanks. Wb