Chartreuse around the world
United States Green Chartreuse arrived in North America in 1897, where it was immediately embraced by cocktail lovers. Between 1920 and 1933, despite the strictures of prohibition, the art of cocktail making continued to develop in clandestine bars. Chartreuse was a favourite ingredient. In the 1960s, cocktail culture spread everywhere and “Swampwater”, a cocktail based on Green Chartreuse, was one of the stars. Today, Chartreuse is an integral part of the scene: 100,000 litres are exported every year.
Spain The Spanish discovered Green Chartreuse in 1895. They have a special relationship with it, as exiled Carthusian monks set up a distillery in the Catalonian town of Tarragona, just south of Barcelona, and Chartreuse was produced there from 1903 to 1989. The people of Tarragona have such great memories of Chartreuse they could not imagine celebrating the annual Santa Tecla Festival without it.
Australia Chartreuse is hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand. Australians have a particular fondness for Green Chartreuse. Styled on an old school science lab, the Croft Institute in Melbourne sells more Chartreuse than any other bar in the world: more than 1,000 bottles every year.
Japan Japan, the first Asian country to borrow from and be influenced by western life, discovered Green Chartreuse in 1891, at the same time as their distant Antipodean neighbours. Today, most Chartreuse drinkers are to be found in the sophisticated nightspots of Tokyo and Kyoto. Every year, 4,800 litres of Green Chartreuse are sold in Japan, 250 litres in China.
Mexico On signing import contracts in 1887, Argentina and Paraguay became the first non-European countries to drink Green Chartreuse. Today, Mexico is South America’s biggest market for Chartreuse. The Mexicans, with their Catholic culture, love French products, especially produce with monastic origins. Although only drunk by the elite, Mexico is responsible for 95% of Green Chartreuse sales on the continent.
Germany Germany has a well developed bar culture. Drinks that can trace their origins back to a monastery or religious order are particularly popular. Of course, German filmmaker Philippe Gröning’s 2005 film “Into The Great Silence” has contributed to Chartreuse’s success. And it was in Berlin that Green Chartreuse collected the trophy for liqueur of the year in 2012.
England Not content with being the first country to import Chartreuse, in 1860, England found innumerable ways to bring out the liqueur’s qualities. Several cocktails had already been concocted by 1870 and it continues to be a favourite with the royal family right up to today.