"Chartreuse" came out of an attempt by ZZ Top to play a Gillian Welch composition, "It's Too Easy." The band were forced to adapt the song as it proved to be complex to play, eventually revamping it into this tune.
According to an interview with MusicRadar, when asked what the title should be, chief engineer Gary Moon said: "Call it Chartreuse. First off, it's a liqueur, and secondly, it's an oddball color, and that's what you guys are!"
Guitarist Billy Gibbons told MusicRadar about his guitar solo. "For the solo, I discovered that we had written a section in two different keys," he said, "and I don't know how to play a solo that jumps from key to key without weeks of practice in order to get it polite. So, in short order, I knocked it out. It's pretty well seamless. The bonus was playing the '61 Les Paul that I got from George Gruhn. What an excellent-sounding machine."