The Chartreuse Mountains in the southeast of France might look like a barren, snow-covered wasteland. But they hold more secrets than you might expect.
Welcome to the Grande Chartreuse monastery, where monks of the Carthusian order live out simple, ascetic lives of prayer. That is, when they’re not working at the Grande Chartreuse distillery, where a secret recipe makes them over €15 million per year. This is where they make chartreuse, the green, botanical liqueur that has become a craft cocktail staple in recent years. No one knows what the 130 herbs, plants, and flowers are that go into the recipe — not even the men doing the actual production! “We work like a cook who doesn’t know the basis of the recipe. Everything’s left to the imagination, and it’s best that way,” explained one employee of the distillery.
In an age where everything can be bought, especially information, it’s refreshing to know that this magical mixture, which has been guarded for hundreds of years, will likely never leave the lips of these men of God.