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A Beginner’s Guide To Using Peppermint In Festive Cocktails

By: Shreya Goswami

Peppermint cocktails

Think about Christmas and the invigorating smell of peppermint immediately swathes your mind. Though a simple herb, peppermint stands as a symbol of the holiday season and captures the spirit of Christmas just as much as mistletoe and candy canes do. A lot of people use peppermint to elevate their Christmas-special savouries and desserts, but did you know that peppermint can also be used to give your favourite cocktails a festive feel? Peppermint, with its aroma and refreshing minty taste, effortlessly complements an array of spirits, making it an ideal addition to elevate your festive cocktails. 

If you’ve ever used muddled leaves of mint and other herbs to make your cocktails, then you know that peppermint can also be used in a similar way. When crushed, peppermint leaves not only release their signature minty and peppery aroma but also release essential oils. When infused with spirits, the essence of Christmas and the holiday season gets amplified in the cocktail immediately. And what more could you possibly ask for at Christmas than for your cocktails to be as Christmassy as possible? 

So, this holiday season, if you want to add a Christmassy zing to your cocktails, then get some peppermint and learn how to use the herb to evoke nostalgia, festive joy and good times with every sip. 

Peppermint cocktails 1

Peppermint And The Holiday Season: A Christmas Charm 

The association of peppermint with the holiday season, and specifically Christmas, spans centuries, which means that the herb has been intertwined with the ethos of the holiday season forever. The association between the two is rooted in culinary as well as cultural practices, primarily emerging from the fact that since ancient times, peppermint was believed to have healing properties. This spearheaded its inclusion in not only remedies for ailments but also rituals, food and beverages. 

Christmas, which in most European and North American regions falls at a time of cold winds, snowy landscapes and generally chilly weather all around, has naturally emerged as a time when ingredients like peppermint come to the fore for their ability to add warmth, healing and a splash of green to the festival. The invigorating aroma of peppermint can open up the nasal passages and everyone’s hearts too, while its herby, strong taste can warm you from inside out. If that doesn’t spark festive joy, especially when combined with delicious cocktails, then what will? 

Pairing Peppermint With Spirits 

As mentioned before, peppermint's versatility extends to various spirits, offering a spectrum of delightful combinations. Here are a few spirits that can be paired with peppermint with utter ease.  


Vodka varieties like Smirnoff, Ketel One and Ciroc have neutral, clear profiles that serve as excellent canvases to infuse peppermint’s refreshing essence into. The crispness of vodka allows for peppermint’s minty notes to shine through, making the base for delicious cocktails.  


Celebrated for its botanical complexity, gin pairs really well with peppermint. The juniper and herbal undertones of gins like Tanqueray and Gordon’s meld with the vibrant and aromatic flavours of peppermint to create incredible cocktails. 

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Clear, earthy, slightly sweet and still robust in its flavours, tequila like Don Julio play up the peppery and refreshing essence of peppermint. Whether infused through peppermint-syrups or by simply muddling the herbs into them, these tequila and peppermint cocktails are simply too amazing to miss. 

Blended Scotch 

The addition of peppermint in the form of syrup, liqueur or garnish can add a new dimension to Blended Scotch whiskies like Johnnie Walker and Black Dog to create delicious cocktails. The mellow and balanced character of whiskies harmonise perfectly with peppermint. 

Single Malt 

Known for their depth, character and intense flavour profile, single malts like Talisker, Singleton and Godawan complement the coolness of peppermint with great subtlety, making for the base of intricate and nuanced cocktails for connoisseurs.  

Incorporating Peppermint Into Cocktails 

Now that you know how well peppermint complements the flavours and depth of various spirits, you should know that experimentation with peppermint can take diverse forms, each contributing distinct nuances to cocktails. Infusions using fresh peppermint leaves that have been muddled or smashed infuse drinks with a vibrant burst of flavour. Peppermint syrups, which can be easily crafted by simmering sugar, water, and peppermint essence, add a sweet, minty dimension to cocktails. Additionally, peppermint liqueur, with its concentrated peppermint essence, offers depth and complexity to concoctions. 

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Complementary Flavours And Ingredients For Peppermint Cocktails 

To complement the coolness of peppermint, consider incorporating ingredients that enhance its profile or that of the spirit you are using to craft the cocktails. Chocolate harmonises effortlessly with mint, offering a decadent touch to cocktails while citrus elements like lemon or lime zest add a zingy brightness, balancing the minty notes. For a touch of warmth, spices like cinnamon or cloves bring depth without overpowering the peppermint. 

Things To Consider While Crafting Peppermint Cocktails 

Never forget that of all the herbs out there, peppermint has one of the strongest flavours. So, while peppermint can elevate cocktails, moderation is key and should always be at the top of your mind. Its intense flavour can quickly dominate a drink, so start with small quantities and keep tasting as you adjust the amount. Additionally, when crafting peppermint infusions or syrups, ensure proper storage to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage. Also, always source quality peppermint for optimal flavour in your cocktails.

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