25 July 2014

Homemade Creme de Menthe and a couple of (not too cloying) cocktail recipes

If you grow mint in your garden, your problem is never keeping it alive, or wondering if you'll have enough for that favorite recipe.  It becomes a weed--albeit a tasty, useful weed-- that overtakes everything around it. I finally got serious and dug trenches along either side of our mint and sank leftover pieces of flagstone into the ground to keep it from reaching out into the oregano and sage, but I still have random clumps of it popping up amidst grassy expanses throughout the back yard.  I make so many mojitos every summer I should own stock in Bacardi.  I chop it into every salad, fruit and vegetable based, hot and cold, that I make. And now I make my own creme de menthe for myself and for friends.  It doesn't have the toxic charm of that neon green stuff you buy in the store, but it's delicious and couldn't be simpler.



Homemade Creme de Menthe 

1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Tear the mint leaves up a bit to release their oils. Place in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 2 days up to a week.

After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka. Keep your creme de menthe in resealable bottle.

Caruso

Serves 1

1 ounce gin
1 ounce dry vermouth or sake
1 teaspoon creme de menthe

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake thoroughly, strain into a martini glass, and enjoy.

Emerald Isle

Serves 1

1 ounces gin
1 teaspoon green crème de menthe
2 dashes bitters

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake thoroughly, strain into a martini glass, and enjoy.



Irish Flag: layered shot drink

Serves 1

1 part green crème de menthe
1 part Irish cream liqueur
1 part Grand Marnier orange liqueur

Pour the crème de menthe into a shot glass.
Float the Irish cream liqueur on top of the crème de menthe.
Float the Grand Marnier on top of the Irish cream liqueur.