Too Many Mints Plus Peppermint Liqueur

by Cynthia

I really grow too many kinds of mint on my deck. I can’t help it though, I love all the different varieties out there and it so much fun having a collection of them. They grow way too easily and I constantly have to divide and repot them. I foolishly keep too many of those divisions thinking I will find a use for them.

Right now in my garden all of the mints need to be harvested now. Several are huge and really need to be cut back and maybe even divided. Once the mints fill out their container it is impossible for me to keep them from wilting. Also I have noticed if I wait too long on harvesting them their appearance and flavor deteriorate. It’s as though the mints hit a stage where they scream pick me now or it will be too late.

I have so much peppermint to gather and dry as I have two large containers of it. The other day I decided to try out a recipe using fresh peppermint that I have never tried before. It is a recipe for peppermint liqueur. I did a search online for peppermint liqueurs and found several recipes. I decided to sort of do my own thing after reading different ones.

I wasn’t going to post this recipe until after it was finished and I had a chance to try it out but then thought better of that. I thought maybe I should share it now in case any readers out there have fresh mint ready to be picked and would want to try it out too. As I mentioned already, I have never made the recipe before so I have no idea if it is good or not. I have however, made blackberry liqueur and Kaluha before and judging off of those recipes this recipe sounds good to me.

Below is the recipe/experiment I came up with.

Peppermint Liqueur

Combine in a glass jar:

  • 1 cup torn peppermint leaves, packed
  • 3 cups vodka

Allow to steep for 2-4 weeks in a dark place. After steeping strain well and prepare sugar syrup.

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil making sure all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to the infused vodka.

Place in a glass bottle and age for at least one month.

I know when I made my berry liqueur the longer I let it age the smoother and yummier it became. I think I will try this peppermint liqueur after one month and see how it is before I decide if it should age any longer.

Below: Orange mint

On top of all the peppermint I have to harvest and dry I also have a ton of orange mint that needs to be picked now. Orange mint has such an interesting fragrance and smell. When I first started growing it years ago I wasn’t too fond of it but it has since grown on me. It is a very pretty mint to grow in a container and a container only as it is an aggressive spreader. Orange mint’s leaves are smooth and more rounded compared to peppermint. In the fall the leaves take on a purplish bronze. Its leaves make a nice addition to potpourri and sun tea. The flavor of orange mint is said to compliment Earl Gray tea.

Another very attractive mint that is in need of at least being potted up is my grapefruit mint. To me it almost doesn’t even look like a mint with its soft thick leaves. This is one mint that I have been considering planting in the ground as it doesn’t spread by aggressive runners. Instead it seems to gradually increase in size. It also has a very upright growth habit which I love about it. It too is a nice addition to sun tea and potpourris.

Yet another mint that is huge right now is my pineapple mint. I love growing pineapple mint in containers. Its variegated leaves are so attractive and look really good next to other container plants on my deck. I don’t usually harvest the pineapple mint though as I do not care for its scent or flavor. I once dried some and made a tea blend with it and hated it. I have not dried it since then. It does really well in containers and is one of the few mints I grow that does not have to be divided yearly. My favorite way to plant it is in a long terra cotta pot. It looks very pretty once it fills the container out.

Below: Pineapple mint

For the mint I am going to dry I will more than likely hang them in bunches. Because I have so much to dry, following my preferred method of drying herbs in the oven would not be very practical right now. At least with how warm it has been lately the mints will dry very quickly.

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