Crème de menthe is said to be a creation of the French pharmacist, Emile Giffard. At the time, he was studying the digestive properties of mint. It certainly makes an excellent after-dinner beverage and, logically, an excellent ingredient for a dessert! We consider the various applications of this sometimes green, sometimes clear, but always cooling concoction.
We begin with the Grasshopper. This is a cocktail consisting of equal parts of the green crème de menthe and the white crème de cacao. You typically shake it with ice before straining it into a cold glass. Coming out of the French Quarter of New Orleans, it arose in popularity in the 50s-60s. Eventually, it headed north where Wisconsinites (i.e., also affectionately called Cheeseheads) started making the drink with ice cream. Of course one of the leading dairy producers would think of the natural progression to add ice cream and create a milkshake… As a side note, imagine if someone made a Grasshopper Freakshake!
Other homemade crème de menthe inspired desserts that have proven quite popular include grasshopper squares, grasshopper cheesecake, and grasshopper brownies. After all, it’s true, crème de menthe lends itself very well to all things creamy and chocolatey. The Stinger, which combines the minty liqueur and brandy, had less of an evolution than the Grasshopper. It seems to hold fast its position as a digestif, not branching off into ice creams, pies, and parfaits as the Grasshopper did.
If chocolate bars or blocks are more your thing, one veteran chocolate bar that’s worth mentioning has been around since the 60s. Coincidentally, this was at the time when the grasshopper cocktail trend was alive and kicking! This is the Milk Chocolate Mint Meltie Bar, a kosher chocolate bar that comes from the family-owned Purdys, who have locations all across Canada. The refreshing mint and rich milk chocolate bar accompany other chocolate bars and blocks. These can contain aerated mint chocolate rocks, cocoa nibs, even mint-infused ganaches.
For those chasing frozen minty desserts, another acceptable substitute when skipping the booze is the classic mint chocolate chip ice cream. No doubt, this one of the greatest ice cream flavours ever. We sometimes see it in a snowy white shade – its natural state – but often also in a gentle shade of green. This favourite ice cream can be made with chocolate flakes or flecks, even mixed with chocolate fudge ribbons and big chunks of chocolate brownies. All this is then distributed throughout a creamy base infused with either fresh mint or peppermint oil. We’ve even enjoyed a creamy after-dinner mint ice cream with a buttermilk base!
Whether you’re opting for a crème de menthe or a classic mint chocolate-themed dessert, science says it’s good for digestion. So why not carry out a taste test and see which of these minty desserts soothes your stomach best?