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.