By far mint is my favorite herb. Mint flavoring in the frosting on my brownies. Mint penetrating deeply throughout my julep. Mint jelly covering my spring leg of lamb.

In our Catskills house a decade ago, we planted five thin sprigs. Mint is invasive and we now have tendrils by the dozen penetrating over the wall and into Suzen’s herb garden.

“Damn mint,” she will mumble. “Mojito,” I will say. The mumbles cease.

Mint can and should be employed on many fronts. My favorite use of mint is in those beverages. I think it provides potent elements to oh so many cocktails. [No, not my margaritas. Lemon is the scent there.]

Mint contributes a layer of flavor that transforms a “simple” beverage into something quite sophisticated. The mint use may be modest in volume, the flavor may not be immediately distinguishable, but it’s there and it has impact. Trust me.

Tomorrow, you’ll get that cocktail sophistication in my Blackberry Burst, a marriage of gin and blackberries. And mint simple syrup.

As you may know from this blog, simple syrup is often a key ingredient in my cocktails. And the mint version of the syrup is quite exceptional. You can make mint simple syrup in a short time, and it will store for a month in your refrigerator. Don’t hesitate. Grab some mint. You’ll need it tomorrow.


Mint Simple Syrup

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • A generous handful of mint, washed but not dried

Preparation:

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and set the heat to medium-high. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar, then occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for a minute, the reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the mint and use a spoon to submerge it. Allow to simmer for five minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to come to room temperature.

Remove the mint, then strain the syrup into a container. Refrigerate and use within a month.


Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/80th second at ISO‑2000