Sunday, 22 August 2010

Crème de menthe

Crème de menthe is a mint-based liqueur.  K's dad serves it (straight, no chaser) to startled guests in cut-glass sherry glasses alongside things like dates and nuts every now and then.

Sadly, the Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton does not serve it.  In fact, the barman didn't know what it was.

However, Benson Blakes, in Bury St Edmunds, not only does serve it but, when C asked whether they had it were quite prepared to knock together a cocktail that contained it. This anonymous cocktail contained cream, crème de menthe, vodka, a chocolate liqueur called Choco 21 which is unlikely to remain for very long at the back of anyone's drinks cabinet, really big ice cubes, a sprinkling of chocolate powder, and mint leaves. It looked like a mojito and tasted like pudding.

"After Eight" on the left, and pure, unadulterated C. d. M. on the right
Meanwhile, in The Last Days of Decadence, K & J experimented.   J tried his straight - "Like mouthwash but sweeter and stickier" - and K went for an "After Eight" which tastes exactly like you would expect a mixture of Bailey's, mint liqueur and chocolate liqueur to taste.  Not bad, so long as you don't mind your cocktails on the sweet side.

The classic crème de menthe cocktail is called The Grasshopper.  Wikipedia claim it was invented in New Orleans.  It sounds even heavier than that which has gone before - Crème de menthe, crème de cacao and fresh cream.  A "Stinger", meanwhile, is 3 parts brandy to one part (white) crème de menthe.  J is not sure he'd want to drink mint flavoured brandy but there's no accounting for taste.

D and M went to the swanky Finale in Boston near the Park Plaza Hotel on September 5th.  We shared a “minty chocolate martini” containing crème de cacoa, crème de menthe and bittersweet chocolate.  Sounds rather much like a "Grasshopper."  We also admit to ordering a “cookies and cream plate.”  The dessert plate was enough for 3 sittings, but the drink was consumed immediately.  I was told that this can’t be a martini because it doesn’t contain the right alcohol, namely vodka.  But I assure you it was sweet and did contain alcohol, it went down easily.  It was presented in a martini glass but seemed quite "girly" with the star designs on the top.  The chocolate at the bottom of the glass, which I finished off at the end, was delicious.     

1 comment:

  1. I remember fondly Michael Green's claim, in his The Art of Coarse Drinking, that one should never spend Xmas at a non-drinker's house because on hearing that you like a drink yourself they will in their blissful ignorance serve you something undrinkably bizarre - like a whole pint of creme de menthe at half nine in the morning. I'm not sure I've ever tried the stuff myself but whenever I see it sitting on the shelf of a bar I remember to be thankful that no-one has ever tried to serve me a pint of the stuff before the sun is over the yardarm.