Chartreuse, The Liqueur That’s Made in Total Secrecy

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Image credit: TwoWings

The whole crux of practically every KFC advertising campaign is that their chicken is made using a “secret recipe consisting of 11 herbs and spices”, the same can be said for Coke Cola and Pepsi, both of whom have played the “secret recipe” card in their ads. However, we think we’ve found a product that tops them all, Chartreuse, the liqueur made by monks. 

Depending on which kind of Chartreuse you buy, it can range in color from green to yellow and comes in a variety of proofs. However, the one thing that binds all kinds of Chartreuse is the fact that they’re made in absolute secrecy away from prying eyes by a single pair of monks, both of whom are literally the only people on Earth trusted with its recipe.

The liqueur itself has existed since around the 18th century, however, its recipe can be traced back even further than that and it supposedly started life as an “elixir of long life” created by an unknown alchemist 500 years ago. According to historians, the original recipe was so complex that virtually nobody save for people with an intimate understanding of apothecary could read  it. Let alone prepare it in a way that wouldn’t cause you to suffer from a severe bout of holy diarrhoea.

It wasn’t until 1737 that a monk called Frère Jerome Maubec was able to create a workable and practical recipe from the original notes. However, the tonic ended up being so ridiculously tasty that the monks of Chartreuse had to adapt the recipe to make it safer. You see originally the tonic was around 138 proof (68% alcohol), however, so many people were buying the tonic just to drink it all, that the monks altered the recipe to make it less alcoholic so that people wouldn’t accidentally drink themselves to death.

Since that day, the recipe and how to prepare the 130 different herbs needed for it have been a secret known only to a select few, passed down by the monks to only their most trusted members.

Today, the liqueur is still being made to the exact same recipe, in secret, by two monks from the same order in a monastery in France. To make things even more secretive, the Chartreuse monastery itself isn’t accessible to the public and all the monks who live there live in almost total silence. So yeah, your move, KFC.