Electric green and intensely sweet, the Grasshopper was invented in 1919 at the New Orleans restaurant Tujague's: equal parts crème de cacao, crème de menthe, and heavy cream, shaken with ice and sipped as an after-dinner drink. It became an icon of 1950s cocktail culture, especially in the South. Aaron Paul, bar manager at Alfred's Steakhouse in San Francisco, mixes crème de cacao with two kinds of crème de menthe for this version: electric green De Kuyper, for color, and white Tempus Fugit, for superior flavor. The cream is whipped with bittersweet Gran Classico liqueur and carefully placed on top, followed by a dusting of bittersweet chocolate. It's still quite sweet, but fresher, with layers of flavor and texture.
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons Gran Classico
1 ounce Tempus Fugit crème de cacao
1 ounce milk
1/2 ounce Tempus Fugit crème de menthe
1/2 ounce DeKuyper crème de menthe
Good-quality bittersweet bar chocolate, for finishing
How to Make It
In a small bowl, whip cream and Gran Classico into soft peaks and chill until using (up to 2 hours). Or, combine cream and liqueur in a whipped-cream siphon*.
Pour crème de cacao, milk, and both crèmes de menthe into a strainer-topped cocktail shaker or glass. Fill with ice. Shake 30 seconds, then pour into a martini glass through a second, small strainer to catch any ice chips.
Top with enough Gran Classico whipped cream, trying not to disturb liqueur underneath, to come just below rim of glass. Lay a small piece of paper over 2/3 of glass, then grate chocolate over exposed 1/3 of cocktail. Remove paper and serve.
*The sturdy iSi Gourmet Whip whips both cold and hot mixtures ($150; a pack of 10 iSi cream charger cartridges, $15; williams-sonoma.com). It comes in handy if you're topping multiple cocktails.
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