Around this time each year, my backyard herb garden is a tangled

Around this time each year, my backyard herb garden is a tangled grove of mint and rosemary plants that have overtaken everything else. While the rosemary continues to flourish long after the days grow short and is a regular ingredient in my winter stews and sauces, it’s a challenge to figure out the best ways to use up an abundance of mint. So this summer, I decided to make creme de menthe.

A nice addition to your home bar, it’s a sweetened mint liqueur that’s a key ingredient in cocktails like grasshoppers, but is also enjoyable on its own as a digestif or poured over ice cream. Like many infused liqueurs, it’s also pretty easy to make. I combined about 2 cups washed, slightly bruised (to help release oils) mint leaves with a 750 ml bottle of vodka in a large jar, gave it a shake, and let it steep in a cool, dark cabinet for two days. After straining the infused vodka to remove all the mint solids, I made a batch of mint simple syrup (using 1 cup water, a little more than 1 cup of sugar, and another generous handful of mint leaves), let it cool, and then added it to taste to the vodka.

The result you’re looking for is sweet and very minty, but not super-syrupy or cloying. It will also be a light yellowy-green, rather than the vibrant green of commercial versions. For bottles I plan to give as gifts, I add one drop of green food coloring, which gives it a nice emerald hue. The blended liqueur can then keep six months in an airtight container in a cabinet or a year in the refrigerator.