Serious Eats: Drinks

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Creme de Menthe?

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[Photograph: Liam Boylan]

Creme de menthe is a sweet mint liqueur that's especially popular during candy cane season. It pairs well with chocolate and many spirits, so this super-easy homemade creme de menthe recipe is a perfect holiday project.

What's Available to Buy?

DeKuyper, Marie Brizard, Hiram Walker, and Bols all make decent creme de menthe at an affordable price, though it can be a challenge to find in smaller liquor stores. It can be scary-green or clear, but the color doesn't affect the flavor. Despite the "creme" in the name, there's no cream in this liqueur. There is, however, a ton of mint-flavored extract and often artificial flavoring. It's a pretty far cry from fresh mint.

Why DIY?

Homemade creme de menthe tastes and smells like just-picked mint, completely blowing away the commercial stuff with a bright and natural flavor that you just can't get from extracts. DIY mint liqueur is like a delicious candy cane in alcohol form—and since it takes only three ingredients and one day to make, there's still time to make some for Christmas. The homemade version is a pale greenish-yellow, but you can add some green food coloring if you want it to look more festive.

Get the Recipe

DIY Creme de Menthe »

Use It!

Nothing is better in winter than adding a little creme de menthe to a cup of steaming hot chocolate or coffee. If your creme de menthe is all gone by New Year's, mix up a new batch, because it also makes a mean minty champagne cocktail.

You can also shake your creme de menthe with brandy or bourbon for a Stinger, or indulge your sweet tooth with a Grasshopper. Just shake one part creme de menthe and one part white creme de cacao with two parts cream and a bunch of ice. Creme de menthe is a great addition to desserts and cakes, like these Grasshopper brownie bars.

About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the co-author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.

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