A few weeks ago we decided to do something with the overabundance of mint growing in the garden right now. We have made our own vanilla extract before, so figured it couldn’t be too hard to make some creme de menthe in a similar fashion.
Justin’s brother enjoys drinks like this, so we made the first batch for him for his birthday. It was so good and smooth, we decided we needed to make some for ourselves as well. The fresher the mint leaves, the more flavor your liquor will have. As I said, these leaves came straight from the garden, so they were about as fresh as could be!
When making an extract or a creme de anything, it works best to use some very cheap vodka. Our local liquor store sells this vodka for less than $5 for a bottle of 375ml which is a perfect amount for something like this. And at that price, it makes this creme de menthe so much cheaper than buying it already made.
Start with a container large enough to hold the vodka and mint leaves. We used a 16oz mason jar to start with, but once we completed all of the steps, this wasn’t enough. A 24oz mason jar would work the whole way through all of this. Tear up the mint leaves to help release the juice and soak them in the vodka.
Let the mint leaves sit for about 12 hours (or longer) and then strain the mint leaves out. To do this, we used some cheesecloth and the ring for another mason jar to pour the vodka into while straining the mint leaves out. Then make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together until the sugar is completely dissolved and add this to the vodka with more torn mint leaves.
Let the mixture steep again for another 10-12 hours, then strain it out a second time. Sometimes, depending on how well it strains, you may have to do it a second time to make sure all the mint leaves are out. At this point, you have your own creme de menthe.
Store the liquor in a resealable container and it will keep for a few months. This recipe makes a very smooth version of creme de menthe and is a great addition to so many drinks! You could also use it as a gift for family, friends, neighbors for the holidays.
Creme de Menthe
- 1 1/2 cups mint leaves
- 375 ml cheap vodka
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Tear up 1 cup of the mint leaves and place them in a resealable jar
- Pour the vodka over top of the mint leaves and let steep for about 12 hours
- Strain the mint leaves from the vodka
- Boil the water and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved, letting simmer for about 5 minutes to make simple syrup
- Add the simple syrup to the vodka and the rest of the mint leaves
- Let the mixture steep for another 10-12 hours
- Strain the mint leaves out, making sure to remove all of them
- Store in a resealable container
And now for the good part: the drinks! We tried a few different drinks using our homemade creme de menthe that I found online. We made two shooters, and two cocktails. I am usually not much of a shot person, so I sipped at mine and it was still good. The frozen cocktail was more my type of drink.
Left: Thin Mint Cookie made with 1/2oz Kahlua, 1/2oz Irish Cream, 3/4oz Creme de Cacao, 1/4oz Creme de Menthe. Layer in a shot glass.
Right: Shamrock Shooter made with 1/3oz Creme de Menthe, 1/3oz Creme de Cacao, 1/3oz Irish Cream. Layer in a shot glass.
As you can see, we haven’t perfected our layering skills yet when it comes to building a shot, but you get the idea. Personally, I don’t like layered drinks so ended up mixing mine up just a bit. I had the Shamrock Shooter and Justin had the Thin Mint Cookie.
This drink is one of the cocktails we made called the Leprechaun’s Lunch. This one gets stirred, so the order you add the alcohol has no significance on the taste of the drink. In a small drinking glass, add 1oz each of Irish Cream, Creme de Menthe, and Creme de Cacao. Then top it off with milk and stir. Justin drank this one and said it was good, tasted like a lighter version of Irish Cream with a hint of minty flavor. He said next time, he would probably increase the Creme de Menthe and Creme de Cacao to 1 1/2oz or 2oz each since he mostly tasted the Irish Cream.
My favorite drink of them all: Frozen Andes Mint! Maybe it’s just because this one is made with ice cream that I loved it so much. But then again, I do always prefer my frozen-fruity-girly drinks the most. This isn’t fruity, but it is frozen, and girly. This one is made with a blender, but since we were doing a single serving we made it in the Magic Bullet and it was the perfect size for it. Add 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream into one of the larger cups (or the blender) and top with 1oz each of Creme de Menthe, Kahlua, Creme de Cacao, and Irish Cream. Then add in about 3oz of milk and blend it all together. I wanted the slight green color, so added a bit of food coloring to mine, but that isn’t necessary. This drink was absolutely delicious!