Rumple Minze Peppermint Schnapps is a high-ABV liqueur that packs a serious punch. Its bracing minty flavors and high proof are limiting, but they work well in high-octane shots or seasonal drinks like spiked hot cocoa.
Distillery Scharlachberg Distillery (Wiesbaden, Germany)
Proof 100 (50% ABV)
Peppermint fans will find the flavor thoroughly minty and bracing.
Its high proof stands up to dilution.
A classic high-octane shooter
Very limited in use—there’s just only so much you can do with a bracing peppermint-flavored liqueur.
Color: It’s clear in appearance, but give your glass a little swirl and you’ll see the weightiness of the liquid inside and the slow streaking of the legs down the side of the glass—the proof of the 100 proof.
Nose: Peppermint candy of the Junior Mint-York Peppermint Pattie ilk
Palate: Oily and weighty, Rumple Minze is almost luxurious on the tongue until the mint and alcohol kick in. Then it’s a mentholated rush: bracingly minty and a little sweet, with a growing sensation of both hot and cold on your tongue. It makes your mouth water and wish for a hunk of dark chocolate on the side.
Finish: Breath-mint fresh and mildly numbing, the rush of peppermint is like a minty engine coolant on the middle of your tongue.
You might associate peppermint schnapps with a Peppermint Patty shot or novelty cocktails served out of Santa mugs, but traditional German and Austrian schnapps are closer in spirit to an eau-de-vie, made by mashing up fruit and distilling it with brandy to produce a clear, fruity liquid. American schnapps, which were popularized in the 1980s, are often much sweeter and more concentrated in flavor than their European predecessors, and Rumple Minze is no exception.
The Rumple Minze trademark was filed in 1981 by the Paddington Corporation, which started importing the German liqueur just as schnapps (and schnapps-heavy drinks such as the Fuzzy Navel) were exploding in popularity stateside. The brand quickly became known for its advertisements, which featured a Teutonic female warrior brandishing a sword astride a grizzly-toothed polar bear and often appeared in men’s magazines like Playboy. True to its bold messaging, Rumple Minze came on the market with a whopping 100 proof—more than twice the ABV of other popular bottles at the time such as DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps.
Rumple Minze’s current parent company, Diageo, is not particularly forthcoming about any aspect of the product, and while the bottle once said the liquid inside was “imported,” it now simply states it is “crafted with imported flavor.” Wherever that flavor comes from, it is strong and bracing. While Rumple Minze’s uses are quite limited, its mintiness is undeniably refreshing; depending on your preferences, it might give off the cooling effect of internal air-conditioning or the wintry sensation of candy canes.
Schnapps is a derivative of the word snappen, which means “to gulp,” and which might explain why this liqueur is mostly consumed as a chilled shot alongside chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Often employed in seasonal holiday cocktails, it would also make a lovely addition to hot cocoa, as it’s used in the Rumplesnuggler. Just note that Rumple Minze’s bracing flavor and high proof mean it can’t be swapped in to replace other mint liqueurs, like crème de menthe, in cocktail recipes.
The double-headed gold eagle on the bottle is a nod to Germany’s coat of arms, a red-tongued black eagle flexing its wings.