Hey, You: Save the Mint! And Make It Schnappy!
This week, I started to think about one of my dreaded end-of-summer chores: cleaning up the garden.
Aside from all the weeding, pruning, and plucking, I needed to figure out what I’m doing with all my mint. Our front garden is positively overrun with a few different kinds—from traditional peppermint, to run-of-the-mill spearmint and the Lady Otter’s special Kentucky Colonel mint.
I came to one of my standard conclusions: What better way to preserve this minty bounty than by infusing it into some kind of luscious cordial.
So I set about making my first-ever bottle of peppermint schnapps tonight. Technically, it’s a mix of mints. If my timing is right, it should be done just about in time for the beginning of the holiday season.
I did a little research online, and a lot of the recipes I came across consisted of a combination of alcohol, corn syrup, and peppermint extract. While I’m sure this is a potent brew, using artificial flavoring would definitely defeat my purpose.
Here’s the recipe I’ve noodled out. It’s based loosely on other cordials I’ve made in the past, like my Sweet & Sunny Lemon Drop Liquor. I’m aiming for a sweet-but-not-too-sweet cordial that will be a nice addition to hot chocolate, coffee, and baked goods. Oh, and cocktails, of course.
I’ll update in a few weeks to let you know how it’s turning out.
A note on ingredients & method
As with any infusion, use quality vodka and fantastically fresh mint leaves.
For more information on making homemade cordials, including food safety tips, take a peek at my article on how to properly infuse your booze.
The Lady Otter’s Royal Mint Schnapps
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
8 cups whole mint leaves, loosely packed
1 750-ml bottle good vodka
Rinse the mint leaves
Rinse the mint leaves really well. Set aside to drain.
Make a simple syrup
In a medium sauce pan, whisk the sugar and water together over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is totally dissolved.
Remove from heat and set aside until completely cool.
Combine & set to steep
Put the mint leaves in a sterilized jar.
Add the vodka and cooled sugar syrup. Stir with a sterilized spoon to combine.
Cover tightly and set aside in a dark place for about three to four weeks, shaking the jar occasionally to rouse up the mint leaves.
Bottle your schnapps
Taste your schnapps after about three weeks.
If it’s not sweet enough for you, make another batch of simple syrup (with a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water), and add it slowly (you can’t get it out once you put it in) until it’s just right for you.
When you’re happy with the flavor, strain and bottle it.
Should keep for about a year (if it lasts) in a cool, dark place.