4 Foolproof Fresh Mint Cocktails
February 13, 2023 –––––– Brittany Risher
As the Mint Julep—a combination of bourbon, sugar, mint, and ice—and the cocktails below prove, adding mint easily molds whisky into a spring beverage. “Mint lifts whisky up and enables it to be a lighter beverage than it normally plays,” says Tony Burgesen, bartender at The Bower in New Orleans. “Mint’s subtle sweetness melds effortlessly into the caramel and vanilla notes of most whisky, while the refreshing coolness of mint plays with the higher notes of whisky, like white pepper and grass.”
Created by Bennett Hofer, bartender, Union Horse Bar, Lenexa, Kansas
“Named after the racing pattern of a barrel race, this cocktail will take your taste buds for a ride,” Hofer says. “First the fresh and bright citrus notes activate your senses. Then the fresh mint combined with Chartreuse adds depth, floral, and minty notes. Lastly, the caramel, baking spices, and sweet cinnamon of the rye shine, leaving you with a feeling of victory.”
- 4 mint leaves
- ½ oz. lime juice
- ½ oz. simple syrup (1:1 water:sugar)
- 2 oz. Union Horse Reunion rye (or other rye)
- ¼ oz. Green Chartreuse
- 1 mint sprig for garnish
Muddle mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice, then shake for 15 to 30 seconds. Fine strain over a large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with mint.
2 p.m. Pick Me Up
Created by José Guzman, bar manager, Fine and Rare, New York City
A touch of sweet agave balances bitter grapefruit and strawberry-mint shrub, while rye gives a hint of spice to this silky drink.
- 1½-2 oz. Sazerac rye (or other rye)
- ¾ oz. strawberry-mint shrub (recipe below)
- ¾ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
- ¼ oz. Aperol
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 egg white
- Thinly sliced strawberry and mint leaf for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 10 seconds. Add ice and hard shake for another 6 seconds. Double strain over a few ice cubes in a short-stem cocktail glass. Garnish with strawberry and mint leaf.
- 10-12 mint leaves, minced
- 5 strawberries, minced
- ¼ cup raw blue agave syrup
- ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
Place mint leaves in the bottom of a mason jar. Add strawberries and muddle to release more flavor.
Add agave syrup and vinegar. Cover and let shrub rest 4 days. Strain into a glass container, seal, and keep refrigerated up to 3 weeks.
Created by Sarah Syman, bar manager, The Dandy Crown, Chicago
“The energizing, pointed quality of fresh mint is the perfect counterpart to the fruity, malty, and slightly smoky characteristics of scotch,” Syman says. Those flavors combine with a pop of sweet strawberry and spicy pepper in this refreshing take on a Scotch Sour.
- 1 oz. Benriach the Original Ten single malt scotch (or other Speyside scotch)
- ½ oz. Benriach the Smoky Ten single malt scotch (or other peated Speyside or Highland scotch)
- ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. triple sec
- ¼ oz. strawberry liqueur
- ¼ oz. black peppercorn syrup (recipe below)
- 5-6 mint leaves
- Mint sprig and fresh-cracked black pepper for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously until cold, about 40 seconds. Fine strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with mint sprig and cracked black pepper.
Black Peppercorn Syrup
3 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
In a pot, lightly toast black peppercorns over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Add water and sugar and raise heat to medium. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, strain out peppercorns and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Created by Tony Burgesen, bartender, The Bower, New Orleans
“Bourbon doesn’t always have to be heavy-handed,” Burgesen says. In this velvety cocktail, subtle notes of caramel, pepper, and fresh herbs linger long after your final sip.
- ½ oz. Wild Turkey bourbon (or other bourbon)
- 1½ oz. mint-infused Contratto (recipe below)
- ¾ oz. aquafaba
- ½ oz. Amaro Montenegro
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- Mint sprig for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Strain into double Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with mint sprig.
6 oz. Contratto aperitif
6 fresh mint leaves
Combine ingredients in a glass container. Cover and allow to steep for 24 hours at room temperature. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove mint leaves. Keep refrigerated in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days.