MDR Labs is proud to present the Sugar Free Creme de Menthe!
The Sugar Free Creme de Menthe was adapted from the recipe posted over at Serious Eats, but utilizes the extraction techniques pioneered here, at Mix Drink Repeat!
Creme de Menthe is an ingredient that is used in many older cocktails and we have been waiting for a chance to perfect our recipe. You can purchase several versions of it, including white and green creme de menthe, but they are really just the same thing with different coloring. However, many creme de menthes are made using extracts or by adding green food coloring. This was very disappointing to learn.
It also turns out that some high end creme de menthes are made using the actual mint and then distilling that to remove the green coloring. This sounds very interesting and we’d be interested in trying that, if getting an actual still wasn’t so expensive!
After we made our Sugar Free Creme de Menthe, we directly compared it to two commercial versions, one from DeKuyper and one from Tempus Fugit. While the DeKuyper was more like a mouth-wash, the Tempus Fugit (which was distilled and colorless), was a much more balanced liqueur. We made Grasshoppers from both of them and the one made with Tempus Fugit was the clear winner between the two.
And where did the Sugar Free Creme de Menthe rank? It tasted amazingly like the Tempus Fugit!
This one is pretty simple to make, so just get going and make sure to use some fresh mint!
Sugar Free Creme de Menthe
- 1.5 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
- 1.5 cups Splenda
- 2 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Everclear* 151 (75% Ethanol)
- Green Food Coloring**
*Warning: Only use a food grade alcohol like Everclear for this. Lab grade ethanols contain methyl groups which are highly toxic!
First, separate the mint leaves from the stems until you have a full cup of leaves only. Then tear up those leaves into quarters and place in a sealable glass bowl, preferably a shallow one. Then add the Everclear and seal the top. Gently swirl the mint in the alcohol and then place in a dark, cool place for 12 hours.
After that 12 hour steep, strain out the mint leaves with a strainer, making sure to keep all the alcohol. Discard those mint leaves and return the mint-infused alcohol back to the original bowl.
Now separate another 1/2 cup of mint leaves from the stems (same as above) and tear into quarters and place them into the mint-infused alcohol. Gently mix and allow to steep in the dark, cool place for 10-12 hours.
After the second steep, strain out the mint leaves and then strain the alcohol a second time in either cheesecloth or a coffee filter (We like to use a coffee filter in a funnel).
Once filtered, add the water and the splenda. Gently mix it until the splenda dissolves. This process should not require heat since splenda is very water soluble.
Now enjoy! If you want the ultra bright green color to last, keep it in the dark! The chlorophyll that comes from the mint leaves will quickly break down when exposed to light and turn brown!
**In fact, no matter how careful you are, the Sugar Free Creme de Menthe will eventually turn brownish. We’ve read that there are some chemicals that can help halt the decay of the chlorophyll, but as we’ve been unable to verify the safety of such chemicals, we opted to add some green food coloring to help bring the original bright green color back. If you want to go this route (which is recommended, since nobody wants a brown minty drink), just slowly add drops of green food coloring until you reach the desired color. You can take a picture of the original to better compare, or just reference our posted picture above!)