Make Your Own Creme de Menthe
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Updated December 24, 2014
drops green food coloring
Take about a cup of fresh mint and pound it a few times with your hands to release the mint oils in the leaves. Add the mint to a large container with the vodka.
Let vodka steep overnight.
The next day, strain out the mint leaves from the vodka. Be sure to get all the leaves as any leftovers will go rancid in the vodka over time.
In a small pot, combine water, sugar, and 1/4 cup fresh mint. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium heat to dissolve sugar.
When sugar is dissolved, kill the heat and let cool. Once cool, strain out mint and add sugar to the vodka.
Optionally, add a few drops of green food coloring to the infused drink to give it that bright green color.
Serve creme de menthe as a cocktail with club soda or use it to spice up hot chocolate!
More About This Recipe
- Impress your guests this holiday season with this easy homemade creme de menthe!
I’m sure you have someone in your family or circle of friends who has everything. They are impossible to shop for because they have it all!
Well, they don’t have this.
And by this, I mean a fresh, infused mint-flavored vodka that’s traditionally called crème de menthe. This homemade version is surprisingly quick to make and very delicious. You can give it away for gifts in small packages or just horde it for yourself.
As you might guess, this infusion starts with lots of fresh mint. I’m not sure you can actually overdo it here, but I would recommend using at least a packed cup of fresh mint per 750 milliliters of vodka.
To bring out the oils in the mint, whack the mint a few times with your hands. If you can smell it without trying, then you’re doing it right.
Add all of this mint to a glass container with the vodka. When it comes to vodka, I’ll be honest: You don’t need to use the nice stuff. A lower to mid-range vodka will get the job done since we are adding so much flavor to it.
Let this infusion sit overnight in the container and maybe give it a shake once or twice. If you let it sit much longer than that, it will actually start to develop some funky flavors.
A day will do the trick though!
After it sits, strain out all the mint leaves. It’s really important that you remove all the mint leaves, as any that are left will go rancid after a few days and ruin your drink!
If you try this infused vodka now it will be really intense. It will obviously be mint-flavored, but also be on the bitter side. It needs some sweetness to really make it a finished product.
To solve the bitter problem, just mix up a quick batch of mint simple syrup and add that to the vodka.
To make the syrup, add a cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar to a small pot and bring it to a simmer.
Add yet more mint to this just to keep the mint flavors going.
Bring this all to a simmer and once the sugar is dissolved, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
Then add all the syrup to your infused vodka and you’re all set.
You might notice that the color of this isn’t exactly appetizing. But it actually tastes great and you can drink it at this point if you want.
I recommend adding – literally – two drops of green food coloring, which will really make it really beautiful.
This drink's uses are many. Make a quick cocktail with a splash of the crème de menthe and club soda. My favorite use: Hot chocolate. SO good!
While you can horde this all to yourself, you can also package it in smaller jars and give it away as gifts. Once the mint leaves are filtered out, the drink will store fine for two months.
Nick had to drink a few of these just for quality control. I’m sure you understand. Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon profile.
DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Creme de Menthe?
Creme de menthe is a sweet mint liqueur that's especially popular during candy cane season. It pairs well with chocolate and many spirits, so this super-easy homemade creme de menthe recipe is a perfect holiday project.
What's Available to Buy?
DeKuyper, Marie Brizard, Hiram Walker, and Bols all make decent creme de menthe at an affordable price, though it can be a challenge to find in smaller liquor stores. It can be scary-green or clear, but the color doesn't affect the flavor. Despite the "creme" in the name, there's no cream in this liqueur. There is, however, a ton of mint-flavored extract and often artificial flavoring. It's a pretty far cry from fresh mint.
Homemade creme de menthe tastes and smells like just-picked mint, completely blowing away the commercial stuff with a bright and natural flavor that you just can't get from extracts. DIY mint liqueur is like a delicious candy cane in alcohol form—and since it takes only three ingredients and one day to make, there's still time to make some for Christmas. The homemade version is a pale greenish-yellow, but you can add some green food coloring if you want it to look more festive.
Nothing is better in winter than adding a little creme de menthe to a cup of steaming hot chocolate or coffee. If your creme de menthe is all gone by New Year's, mix up a new batch, because it also makes a mean minty champagne cocktail.
You can also shake your creme de menthe with brandy or bourbon for a Stinger, or indulge your sweet tooth with a Grasshopper. Just shake one part creme de menthe and one part white creme de cacao with two parts cream and a bunch of ice. Creme de menthe is a great addition to desserts and cakes, like these Grasshopper brownie bars.
How to make grasshopper cake
I have less than a handful of recipes on hand that start with a cake mix. And this is one of them. With just a few added ingredients, this cake is ready to bake.
The next step is the chocolate fudge layer, which also could not be easier. If you can open a jar of your favorite fudge topping (here’s my favorite), you can make this cake’s fudge layer!
And finally, a layer of mint-enhanced Cool Whip finishes off this pretty cake. While I’m a diehard for homemade whipped cream, this is one recipe that I’m ok with not getting out the mixer and beaters.
Layer one, layer two, layer three. And you’re done!!
Like this creme de menthe cake? Save it to Pinterest!
Check out more of my mint chocolate deliciousness:
And here are a few recipes I found that I’d like to try!
Crème de SpearMenthe
If you struggle with the strong peppermint flavor of most crème de menthe recipes, try substituting spearmint leaves for the regular mint leaves that the mixture requires. Spearmint leaves have a less severe minty flavor resulting in a batch of crème de menthe that doesn't bite back. This batch yields about eight servings and can last indefinitely when stored in a sealable container.
- 1½ cups spearmint leaves, divided
- 1½ sugar
- 1 cup water
- 375 milliliters vodka
- 3 drops green food coloring (optional)
- In a large container, muddle 1 cup of spearmint leaves and add the vodka.
- Steep the vodka and spearmint for about twelve hours.
- Strain the mint leaves from the mixture, making sure to remove them all from the vodka.
- In a small pot, combine the water, sugar, and the remaining half cup of mint. Stir and simmer over medium heat.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, let it cool strain out the spearmint leaves.
- Pour the spearmint simple syrup into the vodka and mix.
- Add three drops of green food coloring and stir well.
- Pour the mixture into a glass container and seal.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice (crushed is best!)
- Add your ingredients.
- Stir or shake to chill the drink, blend the flavors, and let the ice dilute the alcohol.
- Place the strainer over the top of the shaker and pour into martini glasses.
- Garnish as desired.
So what were the results of my cocktail-sipping work day? Well, I found that my favorite version of this Baileys Mint Martini contained an equal ratio of Baileys Irish Cream, Creme de Menthe, vodka, and half & half. Of course, you can always adjust the ingredients according to your specific tastes.
I also found that I really loved the green color produced by using green creme de menthe, but again, it might be a love or hate kind of thing. So if the color is a turn off to you? Feel free to use clear creme de menthe and your drink will be more the color of Baileys.
Finally, I love the fun whipped cream and chocolate garnishes, but if you're not a garnish kind of person? Feel free to serve your martini garnish-free. Whether you're hosting a St. Patrick's Day party or just staying home, this Baileys Mint cocktail is guaranteed to make your holiday more festive, fun, and definitely delicious.