If you like your foods in mint condition, today’s your day. September 15 is National Crème de Menthe Day!
It’s also National Linguini Day and National Double Cheeseburger Day. We might have been inclined to celebrate double cheeseburgers today, but National Cheeseburger Day is coming up on Wednesday, and that would be some serious beef overkill. Since we’re staying at the Oregon coast one more night and already have a special dinner planned that does not involve linguini, we decided the easiest holiday to tackle was Crème de Menthe.
I originally thought this referred to those little green-wrapped chocolate-covered Andes mints that hotels like to place on your pillow, but Tara informed me that Crème de Menthe is actually an alcoholic beverage. Oops. Technically both are correct, but the holiday seems to refer to the booze and not the candy. This mint-flavored liqueur comes in two varieties: white (which is actually clear) and green. To make crème de menthe, dried peppermint or Corsican mint leaves are steeped in grain alcohol for several weeks before filtering and adding sugar. It’s the main ingredient in several popular cocktails, including the Grasshopper, the Stinger, and the Exploding Kermit. (OK, I made up that last one – but if there was such a thing as an Exploding Kermit, you can bet your ass it would contain crème de menthe. With a bacon swizzle stick, to represent Miss Piggy. Oh, the possibilities…)
The crème de menthe figures prominently in many works of literature. Kurt Vonnegut, D.H. Lawrence, Agatha Christie, and Ian Fleming all wrote books in which main characters favored the drink. (But never Bond…James Bond. He always stuck with his martini – shaken, not stirred).
To celebrate this holiday, we purchased a bottle of crème de menthe and brought it along with us. We weren’t really sure what to do with it, and after all the drinking we partook in over our wedding weekend, we weren’t exactly dying to “tie one on” again. I ended up brewing a cup of coffee and adding a shot of creme de menthe. It looked disgusting – it resembled avocado-colored coffee – but actually, didn’t taste too bad. We were pleasantly surprised!