Mint is a strong taste, inspiring love and loathing in equal measures. The flavor continually triumphs over its haters, however. Mint appears in gum, ice cream, and all kinds of candy.
Mint enthusiasts aren’t content to limit their love to snacks. Creme de menthe allows adult mint fans to infuse cocktails with a strong dose of their beloved menthol flavor.
Creme de menthe comes in either white or green varieties. They say you eat and drink with your eyes first, and green creme de menthe adds a brilliant pop of color to a cocktail.
The liqueur features in both starring roles and supporting parts in a wide variety of mixed drinks. Drinkers can choose whether they want a cocktail to fully freshen their breath or simply to scratch a minor mint itch.
I’ve collected some old favorites and some newer ones, sure to satisfy your mint cravings.
In this article, I’ll be discussing the history and makeup of the following some popular cocktails made with creme de menthe.
Like every essential cultural component, cocktails experience ebbs and flows in popularity.
The Stinger enjoyed its maximum acclaim in the 1890s. The cocktail reached its zenith during Prohibition because the robust mint taste masked the flavors of inferior liquor.
The Stinger requires only two ingredients: brandy and creme de menthe. While the drink traditionally uses white creme de menthe, some drinkers prefer the green variety.
Those loyal to tradition follow this simple cocktail recipe: stir three parts of Cognac with one part creme de menthe and serve straight. However, individual drinkers can modify the recipe to their preferences.
The drink began life as a digestif-an after-dinner treat-instead of a cocktail. There are a few primary variations on the Stinger, each subbing out the brandy. These cocktails are:
- Amaretto Stinger: uses amaretto instead of brandy
- Irish Stinger: Replaces the brandy with Irish cream liqueur
- Mexican Stinger: Uses tequila in lieu of brandy
- White Spider: substitutes vodka for brandy
- White Way Cocktail: uses gin instead of brandy
While the Stinger’s popularity declined in the 70s, the cocktail left an indelible mark on the world, appearing in Broadway shows and James Bond films.
The Grasshopper may be the definitive creme de menthe cocktail.
Philip Guichet made history by mixing cream, creme de menthe, and white creme de cacao in a French Quarter bar in 1918.
Mint and chocolate are old friends, and the combination is popular across mediums. The Grasshopper tastes like popular mint chocolate chip ice cream or the beloved Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.
The cocktail’s sweetness makes it an ideal after-dinner drink, one that reached peak popularity in the 1950s. The creamy beverage maintains a steady fan-following in the American south.
The Grasshopper has several variations, including:
- A Flying Grasshopper: a stronger cocktail using vodka instead of cream
- A Frozen Grasshopper: Sweeter and thicker, this version mixes mint ice cream into the cocktail.
- The After Eight: Adds dark chocolate liqueur to the classic Grasshopper recipe
- The Grasshopper Milkshake: much sweeter and milder; this version eliminates the creme de cacao but blends in mint chocolate chip ice cream and milk
- The Girl Scout Cookie: this variation uses peppermint schnapps instead of creme de menthe
No less than Twinkie crafted a cocktail around the Grasshopper. The Twinkie Grasshopper is a blended milkshake cocktail that is only for those who prefer extremely sweet cocktails.
Depending on your preference, the name Peppermint Patty immediately conjures either Charlie Brown’s baseball-loving buddy or the mint and chocolate candies.
The cocktail owes more to the latter than the former.
The classic Peppermint Patty is an elegant, creamy cocktail. The recipe is simple: one part white chocolate liqueur, one part white creme de menthe, and one half part green creme de menthe.
Some make a hot variation on the Peppermint Patty that is akin to peppermint hot chocolate. Shouted out on the popular tv show “Archer,” the drink has developed quite a fan following.
The hot Peppermint Patty requires a little more work than the cold variety.
Mix one ounce of peppermint schnapps, half an ounce of dark creme de cacao liqueur, and a quarter ounce of creme de menthe liqueur.
Add your favorite hot chocolate and top with whipped cream for a perfect winter’s day treat.
The American Beauty first entered the scene in 1948. Featured in David A. Embury’s seminal book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, the American Beauty is a refined cocktail with subtle mint flavor.
To make an American Beauty, pour the following mixed ingredients over ice:
- One part French Vermouth
- One part Grenadine
- One part White Creme de Menthe
- One part orange juice
- Four parts Cognac
Finish the cocktail by floating a teaspoon of claret over the drink.
The American Beauty is a potent cocktail, weighing in at 19.94% alcohol by volume.
Mint White Lady
Scottish bartender, Harry MacElhone, invented the White Lady in London in 1919.
The recipe was simple: equal measures of brandy, creme de menthe, and Cointreau shaken and served on the rocks.
While this original recipe appears in MacElhone’s 1922 book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, it was superseded seven years later.
MacElhone updated the White Lady in 1929, changing the recipe to gin, triple sec, and lemon juice.
The 1929 variation is now the accepted version of the White Lady. However, those who prefer a creamier, fresher cocktail can use MacElhone’s original recipe or the updated contemporary variation.
Modern mixologists make the Minty White Lady, which includes:
- 30 ml gin
- 22.5 ml white creme de menthe
- 22.5 ml Triple Sec
- 22.5 ml lemon juice
- 15 ml egg whites
While this variant takes more work and ingredients, it is a richer, fuller cocktail.
The Emerald Isle cocktail immediately captures the imagination with its bright green hue.
The drink pairs the unlikely bedfellows of gin and creme de menthe, both strong and polarizing tastes.
The Emerald Isle is a St. Patrick’s Day favorite. Those who prefer their alcohol in a martini glass over a beer bottle will relish the fresh, menthol taste of the drink.
An Emerald Isle contains only three ingredients:
- Two ounces of gin
- One teaspoon of green creme de menthe
- Three dashes of bitters
Serve the drink straight up, but enjoy judiciously. An Emerald Isle is a very strong drink. While you can use whatever gin you prefer, be sure to use the green creme de menthe.
The liqueur provides the cocktail’s distinct color.