Creme de menthe is a sweet mint liqueur that infuses a cooling flavor into drinks! Here’s more about it and how to use it.
It’s sweet, minty fresh, and boasts a glowing green color: it’s crème de menthe! This liqueur is what sneaks in the cool mint flavor into that retro creamy Grasshopper cocktail. But what else can you do with it? Is it worth picking up a bottle? Does it have to be green? Here’s more about it, when to use it, and the most popular cocktails that use this tasty liquor.
What is creme de menthe?
Crème de menthe is an emerald green, sweet mint-flavored liqueur. There’s also a “white creme de menthe” that is colorless but has the same flavor. Crème de menthe was invented in France in 1885 by a man named Emile Giffard, a pharmacist researching mint for its digestive properties. It’s most popularly used in the Grasshopper cocktail, a creamy after dinner drink invented in New Orleans in 1918 that became ubiquitous in the US in the 1950’s. The white variation stars in the classic Stinger cocktail.
Does creme de menthe have dairy? Despite what you might think, there’s no dairy at all. The French word “crème” means that it’s a crème liqueur, a liqueur with a high sugar content. All the crème family of liqueurs have no dairy: for example crème de cacao (chocolate), crème de cassis (black currant), and crème de mure (blackberry).
What does creme de menthe taste like?
Creme de menthe has a very sweet flavor with a strong cooling peppermint finish. It’s similar to peppermint schnapps, but schnapps is more medicinal with a strong spicy finish.
What ABV is creme de menthe? It is 18% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it has a relatively low alcohol content similar to most sweet liqueurs. Compare it to 40 to 45% ABV for hard alcohol like whiskey, rum, vodka and gin.
Are there any substitutes? Peppermint Schnapps works in a pinch, but it’s stronger and spicier. Also beware: it’s sold in three different ABV levels: 15% ABV (30 proof), 30% ABV (60 proof), and 50% ABV (100 proof). The 100 proof is much stronger
Why we like it
Crème de menthe has a cooling mint flavor that’s supremely satisfying, especially in the retro green Grasshopper. You can also add it to hot chocolate or coffee for a minty twist. But aside from that and the Stinger, there aren’t many popular cocktails that star this liqueur. (Perhaps you’ll have to invent one!) Remember: green crème de menthe does change the color of drinks, so be careful what you add it to.
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, creme de menthe is inexpensive. One 750 ml bottle costs around $15. You can find it as cheap as $10, but we recommend opting for a mid-priced brand. Try the brand Drillaud.
Popular creme de menthe drinks
Crème de menthe can be drunk straight as a digestif after a meal. It also features in a few popular creme de menthe cocktails:
It’s glowing green, it’s rich and creamy, and it’s delightfully mint chocolate. Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite: the Grasshopper drink! Turns out, this classic cocktail has more history than you’d expect: it dates back to pre-Prohibition. This drink was invented in New Orleans in 1918 by the owner of the bar Tujague’s.
Ingredients: Creme de menthe, creme de cacao, heavy cream
Here’s a two ingredient creme de menthe cocktail that tastes greater then the sum of its parts: the Stinger! This genius combination of Cognac and white crème de menthe is a classic cocktail with hundreds of years of history. But mysteriously, it reached its height of popularity in the 1970’s. Today, it’s one of the lesser known classics: but we think it needs a revival. Take one sip and it’s Cognac scented, but with a surprising minty freshness on the finish.
Ingredients: White creme de menthe, Cognac
Here’s a warm and cozy mug you won’t be able to stop sipping: the Peppermint Patty! This hot chocolate is spiked with not one but two liqueurs, adding both mint and chocolate flavors to the rich body of this drink. It’s stellar with homemade hot chocolate, but you can also make it with purchased hot cocoa mix. The amount of cozy flavor here is unreal.
Ingredients: Hot chocolate, creme de cacao, white creme de menthe
Guide to Creme de Menthe: Grasshopper & More Drinks!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Everyone loves the Grasshopper drink! The classic after-dinner cocktail is electric green with a creamy, mint chocolate flavor.
- 1 ½ ounces* crème de cacao
- 1 ½ ounces crème de menthe
- 2 ounces heavy cream**
- For the garnish: Shaved chocolate (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with shaved chocolate if desired.
*1 ounces = 2 tablespoons
**To make a frozen grasshopper: Substitute 2 scoops vanilla ice cream for the heavy cream and blend in a blender. To make 4 servings, use ¾ cup each of creme de cacao and creme de menthe, and 8 scoops ice cream.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Creme de menthe
More cocktail guides
Need more liquor guides? We’ve got them! Here’s all you need to know about home bartending:
- Aquavit All you need to know about this Scandinavian spirit
- Amaro Montenegro Is it worth grabbing this Italian amaro?
- Baileys Guide All the ins and outs of Irish Cream.
- Chartreuse Guide This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Cocchi Americano This Italian aperitif is worth the spend.
- Galliano Guide Is this bright yellow liqueur worth buying?
- Grenadine Guide It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Fernet Branca Guide Here’s why people love this Italian bitter.
- Kahlua Guide Learn about this popular Mexican coffee liqueur
- Peppermint Schnapps Try this tasty minty liqueur
- Pernod More about this anise-flavored liqueur
Let us know if you have any questions!