What is Créme de Menthe

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Créme de Menthe is not the most common type of alcohol behind your home bar, but it does play a key role in many famous cocktails.

What is Créme de Menthe?

Créme de Menthe is an alcoholic beverage that is flavored with mint and sugar. The term ‘créme’ refers to the alcohol’s syrupy consistency from the added sugar. These alcohols do not contain cream and are transparent in color. There are three main ingredients in this liqueur: alcohol, sugar, and mint. Corsican mint or peppermint are two of the common varieties used. The taste of the alcohol gives a cooling sensation, even when drunk at room temperature.

In this day and age, many people wonder whether créme de menthe is gluten-free, and the answer is yes! This popular alcohol is made by infusing neutral liquor (essentially vodka), which can be made from grains. Research indicates that all gluten properties are removed during distillation, although some people with severe celiac have reported negative reactions. There are two main types of créme de menthe, green and white, but the only difference is color. Green créme de menthe is usually dyed with food coloring. At 25% alcohol by volume (or 50 proof), this is a relatively low ABV liqueur.

A capped bottle will stay safe to drink forever, but some alcohol may evaporate over time, which could alter the flavor a bit. Peppermint schnapps is similar to this liqueur, but it’s less sweet and has a higher alcohol content. You can use either but may want to adjust your measurements to keep the cocktails tasting right.

Two cocktail glasses of grasshopper made with créme de menthe

Grasshopper cocktail, an old classic from New Orleans, is made with green créme de menthe. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts & Alcohol Content

This spirit is not a significant source of any vitamins or nutrients. It has 14 grams of sugar and approximately 125 calories per 1 ounce serving. While one brand can vary from another, it is usually bottled at 25 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 50 proof) as mentioned earlier.

Substitutes

There are many substitutes of créme de menthe. Let us take a look.

  • Mint Italian Soda Syrup: This is a combination of sugar, water, and mint that you can substitute for réme de menthe in cooking or in “mocktails”.
  • Non-alcoholic Peppermint Extract: Use 1 teaspoon per ⅓ cup créme de menthe called for. Just a dash in a cocktail will provide a huge flavor boost. Add simple syrup or liquid sweetener to replace the moisture and sugar.
  • Grapefruit Juice: For a more bitter, citrus flavor in your cocktail, try this replacement with some fresh muddled mint.

How to Make Crème de Menthe?

Let us take a look at the recipe below.

    Two hands clinking glasses containing a green liquid.

    Homemade Créme de Menthe Recipe

    Enjoy the fresh minty flavor of this greenish-yellow liqueur. 
    0 from 0 votes
    Print Pin Rate
    Course: Alcoholic drink
    Cuisine: Mediterranean
    Keyword: Créme de Menthe
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 22 hours
    Total Time: 22 hours 10 minutes
    Servings: 3 cups
    Author: Ishani Bose

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup mint leaves torn
    • 1 cup water
    • 1.5 cups vodka
    • 0.5 cup sugar
    • 0.5 cup mint leaves fresh

    Instructions

    • To make Créme de Menthe, place 1 cup of torn mint leaves into 1.5 cups of vodka and steep overnight, then strain.
    • Make a simple syrup by boiling ½ cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Allow the mixture to cool.
    • Combine infused vodka, simple syrup, and ½ cup of fresh mint leaves and steep overnight.
    • Strain completely, removing all particles. You can use it to make cocktails or in baking. 

    Notes

    Créme de Menthe is a very sweet and strongly flavored liqueur that is best enjoyed in a mixed cocktail like a Grasshopper, Stinger, or a festive milkshake!

    Adverse Risks Associated With Alcohol Consumption: There are several risks involved with excessive consumption of alcohol including violence, injuries as well as the incidence of chronic diseasesAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who should not drink alcohol include women who are pregnant, individuals younger than 21 years of age, and people who are recovering from alcoholism or cannot control the amount they drink. Also, it should be avoided by people who are planning to drive or any other activity that required focus and skill.

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    About the Author

    John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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