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Chartreuse vs. Absinthe — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 19, 2023
Chartreuse is both a French liqueur and a color (greenish-yellow), while Absinthe is a green spirit with anise flavor and wormwood.
Chartreuse vs. Absinthe — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Chartreuse and Absinthe


Key Differences

Chartreuse is a distinct French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since the 1740s. Absinthe, on the other hand, is a spirit known for its vibrant green color and anise-flavored profile, often associated with the Bohemian artistic culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Both Chartreuse and Absinthe have a high alcohol content, but their flavors are distinctly different. While Chartreuse offers a blend of 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, Absinthe primarily draws its taste from anise, fennel, and wormwood.
Another difference is in preparation: Absinthe is traditionally served with sugar and water, following a specific ritual. Chartreuse, however, is consumed in various ways, including straight, on the rocks, or as part of a cocktail.
The color "chartreuse" is named after the liqueur, representing a shade between yellow and green. Absinthe, often called "The Green Fairy" due to its color, has had an influence on art and literature, with many artists and writers being known aficionados.
While Chartreuse has maintained a steady presence since its inception, Absinthe faced bans in many countries in the early 20th century due to misconceptions about its safety and effects, only to experience a revival in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Comparison Chart


Made by Carthusian Monks in France
Originated in Switzerland, popularized in France

Main Ingredients

130 herbs, plants, and flowers
Anise, fennel, and wormwood

Flavor Profile

Herbal and complex
Predominantly anise-flavored

Traditional Serving

Straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails
With sugar and water using a specific ritual

Cultural Impact

Named a color
Associated with Bohemian artistic culture

Compare with Definitions


Consumed in various ways.
For his cocktail, he mixed gin with a splash of Chartreuse.


Traditionally served with sugar and water.
He demonstrated the traditional way to prepare Absinthe, dripping water over a sugar cube.


A French herbal liqueur.
He poured a glass of Chartreuse to savor after dinner.


Contains wormwood.
The wormwood in Absinthe gave rise to many myths about its effects.


A greenish-yellow color.
She wore a chartreuse dress that caught everyone's attention.


Experienced a 20th-century ban in many countries.
Despite its popularity, Absinthe was banned for decades due to misconceptions about its safety.


Contains a mix of 130 botanicals.
The complexity of Chartreuse comes from its many ingredients.


Often referred to as "The Green Fairy."
He was captivated by the allure of The Green Fairy, drinking Absinthe regularly.


Made by Carthusian Monks.
The secret recipe of Chartreuse is known only to a few monks.


A green anise-flavored spirit.
Absinthe was a favorite among many 19th-century artists.


A strong to brilliant greenish yellow to moderate or strong yellow green.


Absinthe (, French: [apsɛ̃t] (listen)) is historically described as a highly alcoholic spirit (45–74% ABV / 90–148 U.S. proof). It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from plants, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood"), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs.Absinthe traditionally has a natural green color but may also be colorless.


A yellow or green liqueur made by Carthusian monks.


A perennial aromatic Eurasian herb (Artemisia absinthium) in the composite family, naturalized in North America and having pinnatifid, silvery, silky leaves and numerous nodding flower heads. Also called wormwood.


(color) A greenish-yellow color.


A green liquor having a bitter anise or licorice flavor and a high alcohol content, prepared from absinthe and other herbs, prohibited in many countries when containing thujone because of its alleged toxicity.


(arts) A kind of enamelled pottery.


The herb absinthium Artemisia absinthium (grande wormwood); essence of wormwood.


(cooking) A French dish of vegetables (and sometimes meat) wrapped tightly in a decorative layer of salad or vegetable leaves and cooked in a dome-shaped mould.


(figurative) Bitterness; sorrow.


Of a bright yellowish-green colour.


A distilled, highly alcoholic, anise-flavored liquor originally made from grande wormwood, anise, and other herbs.


A Carthusian monastery; esp. La Grande Chartreuse, mother house of the order, in the mountains near Grenoble, France.


(color) A moderate yellow green. 88c641


An alcoholic cordial, distilled from aromatic herbs; - made at La Grande Chartreuse.


(US) Sagebrush.


Aromatic green or yellow liqueur flavored with orange peel and hyssop and peppermint; made at monastery near Grenoble, France


Aromatic herb of temperate Eurasia and North Africa having a bitter taste used in making the liqueur absinthe


A shade of green tinged with yellow


Strong green liqueur flavored with wormwood and anise


Having the yellowish green color of Chartreuse liqueur

Common Curiosities

Who makes Chartreuse?

Chartreuse is made by Carthusian Monks in France.

What is Chartreuse?

Chartreuse is a French liqueur made from a blend of 130 herbs, plants, and flowers.

Is there a color named after Chartreuse?

Yes, chartreuse is a shade between yellow and green, named after the liqueur.

What is Absinthe best known for?

Absinthe is known for its green color, anise flavor, and association with Bohemian artists.

What are the primary flavors in Absinthe?

Absinthe is predominantly flavored with anise, fennel, and wormwood.

Can you drink Chartreuse straight?

Yes, Chartreuse can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

Why is Absinthe called "The Green Fairy"?

It's a nickname derived from its green hue and its storied effects on drinkers.

How do you traditionally serve Absinthe?

Traditionally, Absinthe is served by dripping water over a sugar cube into the spirit.

Why was Absinthe banned in many countries?

It faced bans due to misconceptions about its effects and safety, largely stemming from its wormwood content.

How is the color chartreuse described?

It's a color between yellow and green.

Are both Chartreuse and Absinthe high in alcohol content?

Yes, both have a high alcohol content, with Absinthe often being stronger than many other spirits.

What makes the green color in Absinthe?

The green color comes from the chlorophyll of the herbs used during its production.

Is Chartreuse always green?

No, there's also a version called Yellow Chartreuse, which is milder and sweeter.

Is wormwood in Absinthe hallucinogenic?

No, wormwood in Absinthe isn't hallucinogenic, and the spirit's effects are similar to other alcoholic beverages.

How long has Chartreuse been around?

Chartreuse has been produced by the Carthusian Monks since the 1740s.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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