Neon green and more a syrup than the cream the name suggests – crème de menthe is a favourite in France where it was invented by a pharmacist called Emile Giffard. He worked as a dispensing chemist but he was also a gourmet and was intrigued by the digestive qualities of mint. In 1885 he invented a white mint liqueur. It was so popular with his customers, he turned the chemist into a distillery. He called his digestif Menthe-Pastille and became a wealthy man. The Giffard family continue to make liqueurs to this day…
Crème de menthe is a popular liqueur to make at home in France and fairly easy to do (and to overdo too). You can make it in a clear or the bright green version which is used in cocktails a lot such as a Grasshopper or Stinger. It’s very refreshing served with sparkling water and ice.
Many commercial brands use artificial ingredients in their recipes but the homemade version uses mint leaves.
Recipe for crème de menthe
1 cup water (8 fl oz/250 ml)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 oz/200g
1 1/3 cups vodka (11 fl oz/320 ml)
1 cup fresh mint leaves (0.7 oz/25g)
Green food colouring (optional)
Tear the mint leaves to release the oils and put in a covered container with the vodka. Leave it to steep overnight.
The next day, strain the mint leaves carefully (don’t leave any bits in).
Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan and over a medium heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the liquid cool to room temperature.
Add the sugar and vodka mix together. At this point you can add green colouring – a couple of drops only, you can always add more if you need to but you can’t take it out!
Pour into an airtight jar.
Great for spicing up your chocolat chaud!