Vegan Grasshopper

November 22, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 5 hours 15 minutes
  • makes 3 to 4 drinks
Author Notes

A Grasshopper was the first cocktail I ever made. In college I threw together a batch of this green-tinged concoction for a viewing of Barbarella with a few friends. Many people relegate the Grasshopper to the “bad” drinks pile, but I rekindled my affinity for this drink when I came across bartender Micah Melton’s Wasabi Grasshopper that’s prepared in an ice cream machine, giving it a texture unlike anything you could achieve in a blender or cocktail shaker.

The Grasshopper first appeared in print in the early 1900s where it was simply crème de menthe and crème de cacao layered on top of each other. In the 1950s, cream started to appear in the recipe and the drink took on more of an alcoholic milkshake vibe. It languished for a few decades before bartenders dusted it off and made attempts to modernize the drink, such as adding a good slug of French Cognac to cut the sweetness and add a bit more depth.

This rendition is a synthesis of the various Grasshopper iterations, with a twist: It’s vegan. We live in a golden age of non-dairy desserts so instead of cream, we’re working with non-dairy vanilla ice cream. The tricky thing about working with alcohol-inflected frozen drinks is that the ethanol lowers the freezing point of the mixture, meaning that the drink will need to be colder in order to maintain that smooth consistency. This is why I added the step of returning the ice cream machine’s freezer tub to the freezer. (if you’re using a machine with its own chilling unit, you can skip this step.)

Lastly, if you are a fun person and like doing cool things, then you’ll take the effort to rim your glasses with sprinkles. But it’s not the end of the world if you choose not to. —John deBary

What You'll Need
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Vegan Grasshopper
  • 1 pint vanilla non-dairy oat ice cream, such as Oatly
  • 2 ounces chilled, filtered water
  • 2 ounces crème de menthe
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 1 ounce white crème de cacao
  • 3 drops green food coloring
  • Mini nonpareils rainbow sprinkles for garnish, optional
  1. If using the sprinkles, pour a thick layer into a small saucer (deli container top works great too). Then dip the tip of your glass(es) in water and then in the sprinkles. While still holding the glass over the sprinkles, wipe the inside of the glass free of any sprinkles and shake off any excess.
  2. Thaw non-dairy ice cream in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Once thawed, combine with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until fully combined. Pour into the fully-chilled freezer bowl of the ice cream maker, place paddle in the center of the bowl, and return to the freezer to chill for at least 1 hour. Then, place on the base, cover with lid, and churn until semi-solid, milkshake consistency, at least 15 minutes. Pour immediately into prepared glasses and serve, or return to the freezer if saving for later, where it will keep for up to one week. If storing in the freezer, note that the drink will not fully solidify but plan to take it out 5 or so minutes before serving (and give it a quick stir) so that it pours more easily.

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