A Beginner’s Guide to Creme de Menthe

A Quick Guide to the Minty Liqueur

Crème de menthe is a sweet, mint-flavored liqueur with a history dating back to the late 19th century.

Available in both green and colorless versions, crème de menthe has earned its place as a key ingredient in numerous cocktails and as a digestif to be enjoyed on its own.

The process of making crème de menthe involves adding mint leaves or extract to a neutral alcohol, which is then filtered, sweetened, and lightly aged before bottling.

The green variety gets its distinct color either from the mint leaves themselves or from added coloring agents, while the colorless version, known as “white crème de menthe,” retains its transparent appearance.

Despite its eye-catching hue, both varieties offer the same refreshing mint flavor that has become synonymous with this classic liqueur.

With its unique taste and versatility, crème de menthe has found a home in the world of mixology, featuring in a range of cocktails from the classic Grasshopper to more obscure concoctions.

The enduring appeal of this minty beverage makes it a staple for bartenders and an enjoyable treat for those looking to explore different flavor profiles in their drinks.

What Is Creme De Menthe

Crème de Menthe is a sweet, mint-flavored liqueur that originates from France.

It was first developed by Emile Giffard, a pharmacist, in the late 1800s. Giffard initially researched mint for its digestive properties and eventually created this unique liqueur.

The liqueur is made by adding mint leaves or extract to neutral alcohol, which is then steeped for several days. After the infusion process, the mixture is filtered, sweetened, and aged lightly before being bottled.

Crème de Menthe is available in two different versions: a colorless version, called “white,” and a green version. The green color is either derived from the mint leaves used in the production or by added coloring if made from extract rather than leaves.

Originally, Crème de Menthe was used as a digestif, a drink consumed after a meal to aid digestion. However, over time, its usage has expanded to include a variety of cocktails and beverages.

Its bright green color and sweet, ultra-minty taste make it a popular ingredient in many drink recipes. Due to its distinct flavor, it’s essential to use Crème de Menthe sparingly and intelligently to achieve balanced taste in cocktails and other beverages.

Types of Creme De Menthe

Creme de menthe is a sweet, mint-flavored liqueur with origins in France.

Available in two main varieties – green and white – this popular ingredient is often used in cocktails and desserts.

Green Creme De Menthe

Green creme de menthe is an emerald green liqueur that gets its distinctive color from the mint leaves used during the production process.

If made from mint extract instead of leaves, additional coloring may be added to achieve the desired hue.

It has a strong mint flavor and is typically sweet, making it a versatile addition to a variety of drinks and dishes.

Some popular brands offering green creme de menthe include Giffard Menthe Pastille, DeKuyper Crème de Menthe Green Liqueur, and Bols Peppermint Green Liqueur. These can be found at most local liquor stores.

White Creme De Menthe

White creme de menthe is a colorless version of the liqueur that shares the same minty flavor profile as its green counterpart.

This clear variety is achieved by using a filtering process to remove any color derived from the mint leaves, or by using mint extract without the addition of coloring.

This makes it a more neutral option for recipes where maintaining the aesthetics of other ingredients is important.

Some notable white creme de menthe brands are Giffard Menthe Pastille, DeKuyper Crème de Menthe White Liqueur, and Bols Peppermint White Liqueur. These can also be found at most local liquor stores.

How It’s Made

Crème de menthe is a sweet, mint-flavored liqueur that is created by infusing mint leaves or extract into a neutral alcohol.

The production process begins with either fresh mint leaves or mint extract, depending on the desired color and flavor of the final product. When using fresh leaves, the green variety is obtained, while extracts often result in a colorless version (also called “white”).

During the infusion process, the mint leaves or extract are steeped in the alcohol for an extended period, allowing the mint flavor to fully penetrate the liquid.

The mixture is then filtered to remove any impurities or remaining plant material. Following filtration, sugar is added to sweeten the liqueur, creating its characteristic flavor profile.

The final step in the production of crème de menthe involves a light aging process. This allows the flavors to meld and develop further, resulting in a smooth, well-balanced liqueur.

Once the aging is complete, the crème de menthe is bottled and ready for distribution.

Crème de menthe typically has a relatively low alcohol content compared to other distilled spirits, with an average of 25 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), or 50 proof.

The liqueur can be enjoyed on its own as a digestif or used as a versatile ingredient in a variety of cocktails and dessert recipes.

Taste Profile

Crème de menthe is a liqueur with a distinct minty flavor that comes from the infusion of mint or peppermint in grain alcohol.

The alcohol is steeped with the mint leaves or extract for several days before being filtered, sweetened, and lightly aged. Its taste is both sweet and cooling, making it a popular choice for cocktails and beverages that require a refreshing twist.

There are two commercial versions of crème de menthe available– white and green. White crème de menthe is colorless, allowing it to blend seamlessly into a variety of drinks without altering their appearance.

On the other hand, the green version derives its vibrant hue from the mint leaves used during production or from added coloring.

Both varieties share the characteristic sweet, minty taste, though the green version can visually enhance cocktails, making them more visually appealing.

While some may find the taste of crème de menthe to be overpowering, it can be an excellent ingredient when used sparingly and intelligently in recipes.

The key is to balance the strong mint flavor with other ingredients in a drink, to prevent the final result from being overly sweet or cloying. With proper consideration, crème de menthe can contribute a pleasing and refreshing element to an array of beverages.

Crème de menthe is a versatile ingredient in many cocktails due to its sweet, minty flavor. Its striking green or clear color also adds visual appeal to various drinks.

Here, we will explore some popular cocktails that use this refreshing liqueur as a key ingredient.

The Grasshopper

The Grasshopper is a classic after-dinner cocktail that combines equal parts white crème de cacao, crème de menthe, and heavy cream.

This delightfully creamy, mint-chocolate drink is often served in a martini glass and garnished with a mint leaf or chocolate shavings.


Another popular use of crème de menthe is in the Stinger cocktail.

This simple, yet elegant drink consists of cognac and white crème de menthe, making it an ideal after-dinner sipper. Its sophisticated flavor profile comes from the subtle interplay of the bold, warm cognac and the crisp, cool mintiness of the crème de menthe.

Peppermint Patty

A combination of crème de menthe and crème de cacao.

It is often served with a splash of cream or over ice for a pleasantly sweet and invigorating experience.

Emerald Isle

This elegant cocktail mixes gin, green crème de menthe, and a dash of bitters. This creates a refined, balanced drink with a touch of minty freshness.

Absinthe Suissesse

A rich and creamy concoction made with absinthe, white crème de menthe, egg whites, and cream or almond milk.

Often enjoyed during brunch or as a dessert cocktail.

American Beauty

A visually stunning and fruity drink that combines brandy, both white and green crème de menthe, and grenadine, often topped with a touch of cream for a smooth finish.

These are just a few examples of the many cocktails that can be enhanced by the inclusion of crème de menthe. Its distinctive flavor and color make it a staple in various drink recipes, showcasing the liqueur’s adaptability and appeal in the world of mixology.


The minty flavor of this liqueur comes from the infusion of grain alcohol with either mint or peppermint leaves or extracts.

After steeping for several days, sugar is added to provide the signature sweetness associated with crème de menthe. It’s key to use it sparingly to prevent the potential for an overpowering or cloying taste in recipes.

In summary, crème de menthe is a versatile and distinctive liqueur with a rich history rooted in French tradition. When utilized intelligently, it can lend a memorable touch to a wide array of tasty concoctions.

So, whether you’re using green or white crème de menthe, let the sweet mintiness enhance your favorite cocktails and desserts.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

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