The Brewing Shed

Crème de menthe – in mint condition


Crème de menthe, in theory, sounds like the perfect digestif. A deep, boozy belly burn of  strong, clear alcohol; a sweet sugary kick to the chops; and a fresh, minty tingle which should see off the most gluttonous of meals. But my only experience of the drink has been the lurid green, sickly sweet liquor that is usually found lurking in the darker recesses of cupboards and bars. One swig of which is enough to put you off the beverage for life.

But does it have to be this way? I’m giving the drink a second chance and am making my own. We’ll find out if it deserves it in three months’ time…

Our creme de menthe recipe
The first stage requires soaking mint in vodka to allow the flavour to extract before the leaves turn bad. For each 70cl bottle of vodka you’ll need to pick around 35g of mint leaves. Gently tear and scrunch them up to give the oil extraction a kick start, then add them to the vodka in a clean, sealed jar.

Leave this for two days then boil up to 200g of sugar, depending on your sweetness of tooth, in 350ml of water until the sugar is fully dissolved. While this is cooling, strain the vodka and mint mix through muslin, discarding the mint. It’s important no bits of leaf are left hanging around so it’s worth giving it a second strain. Just to be sure.

Finally combine the cooled, sweet syrup with the minty vodka and store it somewhere cool and dark. We anticipate this will be ready after around three months.


  • Like most people, I expect, I have mint growing out the ying-yang. In my case, Apple Mint, which grows in a pot and has to come indoors when it gets frosty out. Converting much of it to alcohol seems a sensible and pragmatic course of action, but must I use vodka? Is there another, more entertaining, booze juice I could substitute?

    • Technically, we’re not turning mint into alcohol. Rather flavouring an existing alcohol with mint. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try flavouring other boozes with the fresh green leaves. The obvious alternative would be to whizz up a mojito with a nice drop of Cuban rum. But maybe you could try somoething more unusual to sup in the ying-yang and report back your findings.
      Incidentally, our creme de menthe used apple mint. The mint of choice for the liquor lover.

    • I also have mint (spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, and some mystery mint we’ve yet to identify) coming out the whazoo (something similar to ying-yang). This year I decided to turn some of the spearmint into an infused alcohol. Since I don’t like vodka very much, I used gin. It turned out fantastic!

      Why gin? Because both mint and gin – to me at least – are cool flavors. I used rum (again, instead of vodka) – to make a green walnut liqueuer. (To me, walnuts and rum are warm flavors). That pairing of green igredient and alcohol characteristics seems to work.

      • Whazoos! Ying yangs! This website is turning into a forum for trendy landscape gardeners! We’re big fans of minty booze and have been experimenting with all kinds of flavour combinations. We’ve even dropped a dash of creme de menthe into a beer cocktail – recipe to follow soon!

        • Have you played with chocolate and mint combinations? Or putting a bit of “boozy mint” into a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day?

          Your comment about “trendy landscape gardeners” had me LOLing (LingOL?)…if you could see my garden! “Rustic” is our code word for it.

    • I think it’s some kind of cornucopia. It’s a phrase an old friend used to use. Mind you, he was from Tennessee and lived in Shanghai so we shouldn’t read too much into it.

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