Créme de Cacao

Grasshopper Cocktail From Jeffrey Morgenthaler

October 24, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

Not many of us have ordered Grasshoppers in the past 40 years, and it's easy to see why: Traditionally, the drink is equal parts cheap crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream—shaken and served in a martini glass—and is precisely the color of milky Astroturf. Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler's version is much better, and just what you want on a hot night: creamy, sweet, cooling, bitter, and salty—all keeping one another in check. Adapted slightly from Pepe Le Moko and Portland Monthly Magazine. —Genius Recipes

Test Kitchen Notes

I’m not here to tell you about how to make the best Grasshopper Cocktail (at least not yet). I’m here to tell you about what it’s like to live a life of lies. Growing up, my family always watched the Kentucky Derby from home, with Mint Juleps at the ready. I started drinking them at an early age, and fell in love—it took me years (and I mean years!) to find out that what I had come to know as a Mint Julep was not really the bourbon-based cocktail, but a milkshake made with green mint–chocolate chip ice cream. And let me tell you: Ignorance is bliss, and every year when swarms of pastel-clad southerners belt out “My Old Kentucky Home,” I’m right there with them—or rather, on my couch, in solidarity—sipping a tall, minty milkshake. 

What exactly does all this have to do with Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Grasshopper Cocktail? This drink is, in my eyes, the “real” Mint Julep. Equal parts green crème de menthe and white crème de cacao blend together with vanilla ice cream, half-and-half, ice, and an Italian amaro for a creamy, refreshing cocktail. 

It’s worth admitting that the original Grasshopper hails from New Orleans, not Kentucky. It was concocted in the 1910s for a New York City-based cocktail competition. Today, it’s enjoyed sparingly on special occasions. While it never really goes out of style, it tends to peak in popularity during the holiday season, probably thanks to its green hue. The original recipe doesn’t call for Fernet Branca (that’s Morgenthaler’s signature spin), so you can leave it out altogether if you want to enjoy this drink like it’s the roaring ’20s.  —Kelly Vaughan

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 ounces green crème de menthe
  • 1 1/2 ounces white crème de cacao
  • 1 ounce half and half
  • 1 teaspoon Fernet Branca
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) vanilla ice cream
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) crushed ice, prepared with a Lewis bag and mallet, tea towel and rolling pin, or a food processor
  • Mint sprig for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except the mint sprig in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in a tall, frozen glass, and garnish with a mint sprig.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MessyBaker
  • FrugalCat
  • Whiteantlers
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

3 Reviews

MessyBaker October 28, 2021
This was very tasty. I´ve never had (or heard about) a grasshopper shake in my life and I'm glad my firsy interaction with it was this delicious combo and not the unpleasently sweet drinks the author notes in the recipe describe ha, ha. Besides, the mint green look makes it appetizing.
FrugalCat December 23, 2017
I subbed whipped cream vodka for the Fernet Branca. Delish!
Whiteantlers May 1, 2017
Hell yes!