Few ingredients bring a brighter flavor or aroma to a cocktail than fresh mint. While herbs are simple enough to use when making a single cocktail, maintaining consistency is a challenge if you’re making drinks for a crowd; to make things easier, use mint syrup. Most recipes suggest steeping fresh herbs in hot simple syrup, which is then strained and bottled—but this process prompts oxidation of the plant’s enzymes, transforming the herbs’ bright-green color into an unappetizing brown. The kitchen trick is to briefly blanch the herbs in boiling water, deactivating the plant’s enzymes and preserving the plant’s fresh color as it contributes its flavor to your syrup.
6-8 sprigs mint
16 oz. rich simple syrup (2:1)
Tools: saucepan, blender, fine-mesh strainer, clean kitchen towel
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Gather herb sprigs by the stems and plunge into the boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove herbs from boiling water and immediately submerge in a bowl of ice water for one minute. Pat dry on a clean kitchen towel. Remove leaves and add to blender with simple syrup. Blend for one minute. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Reprinted with permission from Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Techniques, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler.