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Chris Amirault

Types of Mint Used in Cocktails

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There's been a lot of talk around here devoted to mint muddling styles that address the differences between dry vs. wet, pressure, and the like (you can start in media res here or scroll to the top), but I've not found any discussions of types of mint. We have two massive pots devoted to peppermint and spearmint here, and I tend to pull a few sprigs from both when making juleps, French Pearls, Gingered Gentlemen, and so on. However, I've probably not paid sufficient attention to which type of mint would be better in different drinks. For example, I'm wondering if peppermint is a good choice for French Pearls, whereas the bite from ginger might make spearmint better for the GGs.

Who's already done the research on this one? And whatcha got?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I stick with Spearmint and Spearmint cultivars (aka Mentha spicata). And the indomitable mint which grows wild in my community garden, whatever it is. Just because sometimes I don't feel like paying for mint.

Whenever I have strayed, I have regretted it.

Peppermint (aka Mentha piperita) tends to be a bit sharp.

I find a lot of the flavored mint cultivars (grapefruit, chocolate, etc.) to be a bit vegetal in cocktails.

I am interested in some of the regional mints and related plants. Well, some of them aren't even really botanically mints.

Licorice Mint, Korean Mint, Egyptian Mint, Moroccan Mint, Chicken Mint, etc.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I don't have any input on what's better, but I'm interested in following this discussion as I stood in the garden center this spring trying to decide what to buy and tasting each one to see what tasted like a mojito. I got spearmint. I am not familiar with the other drinks you mentioned, so off to Google I go...

edited to add that I DO know what a julep is...


Edited by Marmish (log)

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I find a lot of the flavored mint cultivars (grapefruit, chocolate, etc.) to be a bit vegetal in cocktails.

funny you should mention this... my aunt served a mixed fruit cup topped with apple mint syrup this weekend which was tasty. i was curious about different types of mint and wondered if apple mint could be used in drinks. i guess that they could. the taste was only very slightly "apple-y" and had a mild mint flavor. however, like eje said, bruising the leaf caused a pronounced "vegetal" flavor (grassy) with quite a bit of bitterness.

i should have take some home to test, but forgot at the end of the day. if i were using this in a drink, i would only very slightly press and not muddle or shake. maybe even simply try to infuse over a long time without bruising the leaf.

i love, love, love peppermint, but have only ever used spearmint in drinks... i'm not even sure why. weird.

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My spearmint has not come back too well this year, so I bought a peppermint plant that is going nuts. It's my gut feeling sniffing the two that it may be a bit strong for my Southsides, so I am going to use a little less in there.

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I feel like peppermint might brighten up basic gin drinks like a Derby Cocktail or a Gin Smash. The French Pearl came to mind bc, sitting here at my desk, the interplay of Pernod and peppermint seems intriguing. Could be a mess, though....

ETA: What about in a Mojito?


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If you're in Cuba, you're likely making your Mojitos with Mentha nemorosa, aka "Cuban mint." The closest we can come to this, and it's very close, is Mentha spicata, aka regular old spear mint.

Pepper mint (Mentha × piperita) is a hybrid of spear mint and water mint (Mentha aquatica). I find pepper mint to be not very harmonious in cocktails due to its high menthol content.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Richters in Toronto now carry what they describe as the real Cuban "Mojito mint" - the plants we got from them are as yet too tiny to provide enough leaves for a test :smile:

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Now I'm really confused: Sam says I need Mentha nemorosa and this website says I need Mentha x villosa, and I can't get either one around here. I was also reminded endlessly on a recent trip that we lack any Cuban rum in this country. Finally, if the Bacardi commercials are accurate, I clearly lack the chiseled visage, six-pack abs, and team of writhing, sweaty models to muddle mint properly. I guess I have to cross Mojitos off my list....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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For me its easy, i can only find one type of mint here.


www.amountainofcrushedice.com

Tiki drinks are deceptive..if you think you can gulp them down like milk you´re wrong.

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Now I'm really confused: Sam says I need Mentha nemorosa and this website says I need Mentha x villosa, and I can't get either one around here.

Mentha × villosa, called "apple mint," is a hybrid of M. spicata (spear mint) and M. suaveolens (also called "apple mint)."


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I tried making mojitos with Pineapple mint and was surprised at how vegetal the outcome was. It's OK to mix a little in, but you need really "minty" mint for a proper julep or mojito.

I'll stick with spearmint or peppermint in the future. The best mint available around here commercially seems to be grown in Israel. If you have access to a garden or generous gardener, all the better.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I tried making mojitos with Pineapple mint and was surprised at how vegetal the outcome was.  It's OK to mix a little in, but you need really "minty" mint for a proper julep or mojito.

I'm not sure about the botany, but in the garden, I don't think of pineapple mint as a culinary mint. It smells nice, but I grow it for the hummingbird-attracting flowers.

The one new (to me) culinary mint cultivar I've been pleased with this year is Kentucky Colonel, which has soft green, slightly fuzzy leaves. I haven't done a head-to-head comparison with the standard spearmint, but it is very nice in iced tea.

Guess I'll go mix myself a mojito now and report back. The sacrifices one must make in the interests of science...

- L.

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I don't know the botany, but I know what I like. I went in the garden, grabbed some spearmint and peppermint and made two mojitos. Same process/ingredients/glass for each. My girlfriend liked the peppermint, I liked the spearmint, but it both were delicious. Moral of the story: I like mojitos.

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I just used the peppermint in my Southside, and all's well. I did use a little less to compensate for my perception of its strength, and that was a good call. It's a super drink that will be a warm weather staple again.

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I've found that apple mint and similar fruity mints don't work all that well in drinks - maybe the aroma is too delicate for an icred drink.

Peppermint...many different types, but if the camphor/menthol note is too strong, why not try a mixture of spearmint with just a little peppermint?

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I love peppermint in juleps. It is strong, so you need a lot less, but it's ideal for putting a lot of menthol into the drink without grassiness.

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Irvin S. Cobb, that opinionated and well-spoken liquor industry mouthpiece, writes in re: mint...

In the name of the julep I have seen high crimes and flagrant misdemeanors committed. In one Corn Belt city, which I shall not name here probably because it's enough ashamed of itself already, I have stood in horror and with seared eyeballs have seen a julep converted into a harsh green tea by the sacrilegious use of peppermint springs—not mint, peppermint! But if one's fancy inclines that way why not just swallow a mothball and be done with it?

~ Irvin S. Cobb's Own Recipe Book (1936), Frankfort Distilleries, Louisville.

Hyperbole aside, I'm with Cobb on this; peppermint is fine for the garden, but spearmint is—in our house, anyway—the only fitting mint for a juelp or mint syrup.


Matthew B. Rowley

Rowley's Whiskey Forge, a blog of drinks, food, and the making thereof

Author of Moonshine! (ISBN: 1579906486)

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Has anyone ever tried Catnip (nepeta cataria)? Seriously. I used to grow it and have made tea with it (it's quite good), but I never tried it in a cocktail. It might make an interesting variation.

Meowjito, anyone? :cool:


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Has anyone ever tried Catnip (nepeta cataria)?  Seriously.  I used to grow it and have made tea with it (it's quite good), but I never tried it in a cocktail.  It might make an interesting variation.

Meowjito, anyone?  :cool:

No but my cat likes it...makes him crazy...

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Has anyone ever tried Catnip (nepeta cataria)?  Seriously.  I used to grow it and have made tea with it (it's quite good), but I never tried it in a cocktail. 

yeah... it's great in tea and supposed to have a calming/seditive effect. i also love the scent. do you think it's strongly flavored enough to hold up in a cocktail? maybe a tincture or bitters?

i've tried to grow it in the garden, but as soon as it gets leaves it's mauled by the neighborhood cats. a plant one day, a stick in the ground on the next.

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I have to agree with the spearmint lovers. I have a large herb garden, and have tried many different types of mint, but spearmint is the only one that seems to taste any good in a cocktail. All the others are too green, or so high in menthol that it just kills it for me.

On a side note though, for a period of almost a month, anywhere I went to buy seeds only carried Peppermint! Finally I ended up finding one lone package of spearmint seeds nestled behind a large pack of peppermint. Now that I have it of course, there's an abundance of all the different varieties :hmmm:


"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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This is something that has been gnawing on my gullet for years -- OK, a couple years at least --  the mint I buy at the grocery store, merely labeled "mint", is fragrant.  It's not always all that much to look at but when I cradle my evening mai tai in my hands and crush a leaf or two, the perfume fills the room.

 

The problem:  once again this year I am growing my own mint, as shown in the upper right of this eggplant picture...

 

Eggplants06082017.png

 

 

This mint plant was sold as peppermint.  It is beautiful.  But the sprigs are tasteless.  No matter how hard I rub the leaves the mint odor is faint*.  And that is being generous.  Same as last year and the year before.  Is mint sold in grocery stores spearmint perhaps?

 

What type of mint do folks use for their drinks and culinary purposes?  Wishing I had bought a spearmint plant to compare the fragrance side by side.

 

 

*Chewing a bunch of leaves at the moment and might as well be chewing lettuce.  (Actually if you consider this mint as a salad green it's not all that bad, it just doesn't taste like mint to me.)

 

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There's all kinds of mint. I'd get another source. An online seed perhaps.   It isn't too late ..that stuff grows like the weed it is

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Posted (edited)

I buy sprigs of mint at the local market then, when I have one I like, let it sprout roots and plant it. I have no idea what variety.

 

As @gfwebsays, it grows like mad. The one I have now has that room filling aroma and certainly doesn't taste like lettuce. It's dark now or I'd post a picture of a ten day old sprig which is now a hedge!

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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