Herbs have always had a place in a bartender’s mise en place, especially mint. Being a must-have in the many classics, from the julep to the mojito, many are thought how to use it at the beginning of their stint.
Mint refers to a genus of plants from the Lamiaceae family. While we are most familiar with Mentha Spicata or spearmint, there are up to 18 different species of the plant! They are all aromatic so all can be used for making drinks of differing tastes.
In Singapore, chocolate mint or Mentha Piperita is the most commonly found in grocery stores. Despite the name, it neither smells nor tastes like chocolate but rather is reminiscent of an Andes after-dinner chocolate Mint. These are typically used in drinks as it has a much more palatable taste. Spearmint can give the overwhelming sense of drinking toothpaste.
Mint plants are easily cultivated and are perennials, making them good choices for the home gardener. Having your own plants helps to keep costs down and ensures you always have a fresh supply of leaves.
For storage, you can pluck mint leaves off their stems and store them dry in an airtight box. We also recommend to sandwich the leaves between paper towels. The should keep for up to four days. Do note that when plucking, the leaves can stain your fingers and nails with a dark pigment. This is just oxidation of the oils from the plant. This phenomenon is also observed when crushing the leaves. How to prevent this when making a Mojito will be covered in an upcoming post so stay tuned!
Time to plan for more Southsides and Mojitos!
May our glasses never be empty, cheers and talk soon!