Sugar-Free Creme de Menthe
Well the holiday season is coming to an end, so I guess it’s about time to post this recipe!
With social media feeds full of all kinds of festive everything - and peppermint drinks galore - I decided to make up a batch of creme de menthe.
... keto-ified, of course!
This recipe is quick and easy to make, and turns out an incredibly convincing replica of commercially available peppermint liqueur.
While it’s pretty simple, there are a few things to address - and some general information, to appease the Google overlords - so let’s get to it!
What is Creme de Menthe?
Creme de menthe is a traditional French liqueur that was developed by a pharmacist in the late 1800s... as a digestive aid.
It doesn’t actually have cream in it, just a LOT of sugar - and a bit of glycerine - giving it a thick mouthfeel.
How do you serve Creme de Menthe?
Generally speaking, creme de menthe is usually served as part of a cocktail, or added to other drinks - like coffee or hot chocolate - for a flavour boost.
Some will enjoy a shot of it over ice as a festive little sip, but it’s pretty intense on its own.
Low Carb Creme de Menthe Ingredients
Water - Distilled is best, as this can help mitigate the risk of crystals, at least to some degree.
Sugar substitute - I use a monkfruit / erythritol blend for this, I find it has the best results.
Vodka - The mint adds a ton of flavour, so if you’re not using top-shelf vodka... no one will really notice!
Peppermint extract - I recommend using basic, grocery-store type, pure peppermint extract - NOT essential oil. If you’re using something like Lorann’s oil, you’ll need to seriously decrease the amount used.
Glycerine - Use a food grade glycerine. This gives the liqueur a more authentic mouth feel.
Green food colouring - I use gel paste, specifically ChefMaster, which is the option more readily available here.
If you’re in the USA, I recommend Americolor gel paste colourings.
That said, regular grocery store type liquid food colouring will work just fine - I just don’t keep any on hand!
Actually, THAT said... you can skip the food colouring altogether, if you want - "white" creme de menthe (which is actually clear) is a thing, also!
How to Make Sugar-Free Creme de Menthe
Full recipe follows at the end of this post, here is the pictorial walk-through:
In a small pot, heat water and sugar substitute - whisking often - just until the sugar substitute has fully dissolved into the water.
Be sure that all of the crystals have fully dissolved, including any on the side of the pan. (Swirling it helps!)
Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, add vodka, peppermint extract, and glycerine, stirring well to combine. (I prepared this mixture in a bowl, and tinted it ahead of time. You can do whatever order you'd like!)
Tint to desired colour with food colouring.
Transfer to a clean, airtight bottle, store somewhere cool and dark.
Tips for Making Low Carb Creme de Menthe
If you follow the recipe as stated, it’ll turn out for you. That said, there are some tips to keep in mind, to ensure success. (It’s good to know the hows and whys!)
- This recipe makes a small batch, for a few reasons:
Vodka is EXPENSIVE here in Canada, and it’s hard to justify large batches - especially when I don’t drink much at all!
I wanted to have a nice variety of liqueurs to choose from, and would much prefer smaller batches and more variety.
1 batch makes enough to fill a 200 ml bottle, with a little left over to sip on. Perfect!
That said, this recipe is easily scaled up. Double it, make a 3x batch - whatever suits your needs!
- I use these 200 ml glass flask bottles for most of my keto liqueurs, and love them!
- Pay attention to ingredients, especially the mint extract. Do not use flavour oil or essential oil for this one!
- When I say to make sure there are no sugar crystals left, that everything should be fully dissolved, I mean it!
Swirl the hot liquid to catch any crystals on the side of the pan, ensure everything is fully dissolved. This is your best way to prevent crystals forming.
Actually, let’s talk about that a bit more...
Erythritol Crystals in Keto Creme de Menthe
Erythritol has a habit of dropping out of solution, when cooked into a liquid . Creme de menthe in particular has a higher sugar content / lower alcohol ratio, so it’s especially prone to this.
Some people will tell you that you can avoid it by using powdered erythritol, but that’s not actually accurate.
Whether you start with powdered or granular erythritol, once it’s dissolved - that is, becomes a solution - it’s all the same thing. The size of the crystals it started out with no longer matters.
Starting out with a powder makes it such that the sweetener will dissolve more easily in the first place, but that’s about it.
You may or may not get crystallization when you make this recipe, you may get crystals the first time you make it, but not the next... or vice versa.
Anyway, there are a few ways you can deal with it:
Mitigate it as much as possible, to start
With this particular recipe, that means making sure everything is fully dissolved. Any stray granules - or bits of powder - that aren’t fully dissolved can act as a seed for crystal formation.
Get rid of the crystals after they form
If you end up with crystals and do NOT want them, you can gently heat the creme de menth, to re-dissolve the crystals.
Be gentle with it, don’t bring it to a full boil, and don’t allow it to simmer for long - this will affect the alcohol content. (Which you may not even care about, TBH, but figured I’d mention it!)
Just deal with it.
I’ll be honest, this is generally how I’ll deal with crystals.
When it comes to making accurate replicas of things I want to drink, I just accept that crystals can just be a fact of life when it comes to using sugar substitutes. I pour it off the crystals, and move on. It’s all good!
Besides, it can look really pretty in the bottle - like ice crystals - kind of on theme, right? Consider it a feature, rather than a bug!
Keto Creme de Menthe Cocktails
As I create more liqueur recipes, I’ll post more creme de menthe cocktail recipes here. In the meantime...
Keto Mint Irish Cream Martini Cocktail
1 oz. Keto Irish Cream
1 oz. Sugar Free Creme de Menthe
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Heavy Cream
Measure ingredients into a shaker, add a scoop of ice.
Cover and shake, strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with sugar free whipped cream, if desired.
Irish Cream Layered Shot
1 part Sugar Free Creme de Menthe
1 part Keto Irish Cream
Pour creme de menthe to half-fill a shot glass. Carefully layer keto Irish Cream on top.
(Note: I have a whole post on layered shooters on my main blog, check it out for detailed info on technique: Shot Tectonics: The Science of Layered Shots )
Add 1 oz Sugar Free Creme de Menthe to your cup of coffee.
Peppermint Hot Cocoa
Add 1 oz Sugar Free Creme de Menthe to your cup of (Sugar free!) Hot cocoa.
More Sugar Free Liqueur & Cocktail Recipes
Looking to stock a keto liquor cabinet? You don’t have to limit yourself to full-octane basic spirits - you CAN easily make liqueurs! Here are a few more recipes for you to try:
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Sugar-Free Creme de Menthe
- ⅓ cup Water
- ½ cup Sugar substitute
- ⅓ cup Vodka
- ¾-1 teaspoon Peppermint extract
- ½ teaspoon Glycerine
- Green food colouring.
- In a small pot, heat water and sugar substitute - whisking often - just until the sugar substitute has fully dissolved into the water.
- Be sure that all of the crystals have fully dissolved, including any on the side of the pan. (Swirling it helps!)
- Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, add vodka, peppermint extract, and glycerine, stirring well to combine.
- Tint to desired colour with food colouring.
- Transfer to a clean, airtight bottle, store somewhere cool and dark.