Building a Better Grasshopper

On January 21, 2008, in Food and Drink, by peterb

The grasshopper is a classic sweet cocktail that, typically, sucks. If you order it at a bar, you’ll get a concoction made from bad green creme de menthe, worse white creme de cacao, and cream or half and half. It will be undrinkably sweet, but to make up for being too sweet it will also taste bad.

The mystifying thing about the grasshopper is that it should be good. Chocolate and mint is a great combination. So we here at Tea Leaves have come up with an alternative recipe that is, we think, infinitely better.


  • 2 cl Marie Brizard white crème de menthe. This is an instance where brand matters. There are basically two crèmes de menthe in the world: Marie Brizard, and then the crap that you serve to people you don’t like.
  • 2 cl half and half, light cream, or heavy cream, per your taste.
  • 2 tsp good cocoa powder. I used Guittard cacao rouge

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour and serve. You’ll end up with something that looks like cocoa, but tastes like a mint sundae. This, it turns out, is not a bad thing.

The goal here was to avoid using crème de cacao, which is always, under all circumstances, disgusting. When I conceived of using cocoa powder as a replacement, I was fairly sure that it couldn’t possibly work. “The cocoa powder won’t dissolve,” I thought, “it’ll be all grainy, and if it does dissolve it will just precipitate right out.” At least in my test run tonight, that didn’t happen. The texture was pleasantly thick without being sludgy or grainy. As for precipitation, all I can say we ended up drinking this so quickly that it wasn’t a problem. You will end up with a residue on the glass which could, I guess, offend the delicate sensibilities of your friends.

If that happens, you need new friends.



5 Responses to “Building a Better Grasshopper”

  1. Chris C. says:

    Normally, I don’t drink. But this article makes me want to go to a liquor store and pick up a bottle of Marie Brizard. Damn you.

  2. peterb says:

    I sure hope you don’t live in Pennsylvania, where it is both (a) generally unavailable without special ordering and (b) too expensive.

  3. I kind of wish you’d avoid posting recipes that include ingredients that are generally unavailable and too expensive. But this sounds yummy, so I’ll forgive you and look into special ordering.

  4. peterb says:

    The best solution is out-of-state friends. The PLCB charges $27 for a bottle of the Brizard crème de menthe. Average price in New Jersey among stores that I spot-checked was $22. I’ve seen it for less elsewhere (Sam’s in Chicago has other Brizard cordials for $18.99, for example).

    I’d forgive the PLCB the price if I didn’t have to special order it. I’d forgive them the special order if it was priced reasonably. Instead, typically, it’s both inconvenient and expensive. Thanks, Harrisburg!

    To avoid posting recipes with this sort of ingredient is hard, particularly when the ingredient is a cordial. The fact is, most cordials that are generally available are crap. Most of them are made with corn syrup and nasty artificial flavors. If the choice is using something like DeKuyper and simply not using it at all, I simply pick a different recipe. Life is too short to drink bad liqueurs.

  5. Castor Lau says:

    Random surfing and this turns up. o_O

    Note to self: order grasshopper at the earliest convenience. (in order to work up the resolve to try this recipe)

    I’m actually curious as to who is referred to in “we here at Tea Leaves”.