Cocktail of the Week – The Continental

(Before I start on this week’s cocktail, I should point out that Harry’s Bar in Paris celebrated its hundredth birthday this week.)

This week’s cocktail is related to the sours that I talked about last week, but it also covers the world of fruit liqueurs – or in this case mint liqueur, in the form of creme de menthe.

Fruit liqueurs don’t have the best reputation. They’re generally seen as cloying and sweet – something one (over)indulges in on Mediterranean package holidays and then vows to avoid in the future.

Despite that, they’re a major part of many cocktails, adding concentrated colour and flavour, while the dilution often helps overcome their worst qualities.

And creme de menthe’s reputation possibly could do with some help. Just as pine scent is now inextricably linked in our mind with toilet cleaner, mint flavour often brings to mind mouthwash, toothpaste and chewing gum – especially when it’s as concentrated as in creme de menthe.

One way of countering this is by using something tart, like lime or lemon juice, leading to the Continental cocktail.


1 1/2 msrs light rum

1/2 msr green creme de menthe

1/2 msr lime juice

Shake all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice, and strain and pour into a cocktail glass.

Like the Caruso I did a while back, it’s very green. The main flavours you get are the lime and the creme de menthe – they rather overwhelm the rum, but you get a quite pleasing contrast between the sweet mint and the tart lime that’s more refreshing than you’d expect. Certainly not the most subtle cocktail though.


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