Crème de menthe
Crème de menthe (French for mint cream) is a sweet, mint-flavored alcoholic beverage. Its flavor is primarily derived from Corsican mint. It is available commercially in a colorless (called "white") and a green version (which obtains its color from the mint leaves or from the addition of coloring, if extract and not the leaves are used to make the liqueur). Both varieties have similar flavors and are interchangeable in recipes, except where the color is important.
Crème de menthe is used as an ingredient in several cocktails, such as the Grasshopper and the Stinger, and is also served as an after-dinner drink and can be used in food recipes as a flavoring (see Mint chocolate).
The traditional formula involves steeping dried peppermint or Corsican mint leaves in grain alcohol for several weeks (creating a naturally green color), followed by filtration and the addition of sugar.
A simple recipe is to mix the crème de menthe with ice cream which creates a mint-like shake. Toppings are also sometimes used, such as nuts or pecans.
- It gives its name to the sixth chapter of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love and is therein mentioned as Rupert Birkin's drink: "Birkin was drinking something green [...]"
- In Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle a bartender invents a cocktail on the day of the bombing of Hiroshima called the End of The World Delight. It is Crème de menthe poured into a hollow pineapple with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
- In Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, Jamie, a frustrated lesbian musician, becomes an alcoholic who prefers to drink crème de menthe "...because it kept out the cold in the winter, and because, being pepperminty and sweet, it reminded her of the bulls-eyes at Beedles."
- In Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, Rose drinks creme de menthe after going for a walk with Neil. He accuses her of drinking it because it contrasts with her hair. Cassandra later drinks it in the pub.
- In Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novels, Poirot is shown to favor liqueurs in general, and Creme de Menthe in particular, as his drink of choice.
- In Ian Fleming's Thunderball, a creme de menthe frappé (with a maraschino cherry on top) is Emilio Largo's favorite drink.
- In James Welch's Winter in the Blood, Agnes is drinking Crème de menthe when the narrator talks to her at a bar in Havre.
- Sergei Rachmaninoff, although otherwise a teetotaler, found that a glass of crème de menthe steadied his nerves when playing the technically demanding piano score in the twenty-fourth variation of his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. He nicknamed the twenty-fourth the "Crème de Menthe Variation."
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