Chartreuse becomes ‘most forgotten drink ever’

Graphic: Robweb Johnson

A bottle of Green Chartreuse has set a new record for ‘longest time in a drinks cupboard since being opened’.

The Guinness Book of Records last week clocked the ancient bottle’s ‘furniture time’ at 147 years, meaning it has lived through two World Wars, a royal abdication, the Moon Landings and 19 series of I’m a Celebrity…

It surpasses the previous record of 146 years, set by a bottle of heavily oxidised Tio Pepe in a Cornish pub in 1976.

Victorian values

The record-breaking Chartreuse was first opened in 1873 by Eliza Drinklittle of Bristol and has been handed down through her family ever since, with five subsequent generations taking one sip and saying ‘Christ on a bike, what is that all about?’ and putting it back in the cupboard.

According to the current owner, Isla Drinklittle, her great great great grandmother ‘bought it by mistake’ when she was looking for ‘Green and Charters famous corset-softening solution’.

‘Even though it tastes like the Waitrose herb aisle soaked in sugar, monk sweat and lighter-fuel, she could never bring herself to throw it out,’ said Ms Drinklittle. ‘And we’ve just kept on passing it down through the generations ever since.

‘It’s like a member of the family – just not a very nice one.’

Beware the bogey-liqueur

Down the years, the Chartreuse has been used as a sedative, a laxative, a doorstop, a bicycle lubricant and a means of threatening small children.

‘It was hopeless for everything except scaring the kids,’ said Ms Drinklittle. ‘Though to be fair it was quite good at that.’

The family have tried the liqueur neat, chilled, over ice, with tonic, and in cocktails, but have yet to find a serving method that makes anyone want to drink it.

‘Even mixing it with Coke didn’t work,’ said Ms Drinklittle, ‘which is quite something since that even makes Jack Daniels palatable.’

Ageing gracefully

At the current rate of consumption, experts believe the bottle could last a further 130 years, which would qualify it for a free subscription to Decanter.

A spokesman for the Chartreuse Council said they were delighted with the new record, saying that it ‘proved how well the drink ages.’

Current global sales of Chartreuse are six bottles a year – well down from the drink’s peak of nine bottles in 1926.