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A DIY Guide To Peppermint-Infused Spirits For The Festive Season

By: Shreya Goswami

Peppermint-infused spirits

Every year, Christmas brings with it immense opportunities for feasting and drinking experiments. The festive season is that time of the year when family and friends love to gather together over plates brimming with traditional delicacies and glasses flowing with generous cocktails. But if you are wondering how to make your cocktails for that Christmas party more festive than ever before, then the new breath of freshness you need is peppermint. 

Peppermint-infused spirits, whether they are made with vodka, gin, whisky or tequila, offer a delightful and refreshing twist to traditional Christmas drinks. Now you may ask if it’s possible to create bespoke festive cocktails with a herb as strongly flavoured as peppermint, but the fact is that because this herb is so vibrant and refreshing in its flavours, it managed to add a new depth and complexity to any spirit when infused with it.  

Of course, you do need some basic idea of how to go about infusing peppermint with different kinds of spirits. Whether infusing vodka, tequila, gin, blended scotch whisky, or single malt, the process involves patience, periodic tasting, and careful monitoring to achieve the desired balance of minty freshness. Wondering how to start out? Here is a brief guide to peppermint-infused spirits for the festive season. 

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Peppermint-Infused Vodka 

Vodka serves as an excellent base for peppermint infusions due to its neutral flavour profile, so this one is a no-brainer. Begin by selecting your preferred vodka, like Ketel One, Smirnoff and Ciroc and taste the vodka once before beginning with the infusion to get a better sense of the core ingredients. Then pick out fresh peppermint leaves, thoroughly wash and dry them, then taste a single leaf too.  This will give you a good idea of how much peppermint you need to use for the vodka infusion.  

Next up, chop or muddle the peppermint leaves a bit to release their aroma and essential oils. Transfer the leaves into a large glass jar, add in the vodka and make sure that the leaves are fully submerged. Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for a week while taking it out every two days to taste and monitor the infusion. Once the peppermint and vodka have infused to your desired choice, strain the vodka through a fine mesh sieve, remove the leaves and enjoy the crisp, peppery and refreshing flavour of peppermint-infused vodka. 

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Peppermint-Infused Tequila 

Tequila's earthy notes harmonise beautifully with the minty freshness of peppermint, especially if you are using Don Julio’s Blanco tequila. To create a peppermint-infused tequila, you need to make sure you have plenty of tequila, fresh peppermint leaves and sealable glass jars that have been sterilised. Now, combine fresh peppermint leaves with tequila in sealed jars and let it infuse for approximately four to five days, adjusting the infusion duration based on taste preferences. You may also want to take out the infusion on the third day and give it a taste to check if its already done. Once infused, strain the tequila to remove the leaves, leaving behind a subtly mint-infused spirit perfect for crafting festive-special and unique tequila-based cocktails with a refreshing twist. 

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Peppermint-Infused Gin 

Gin, known for its botanical complexity, pairs elegantly with the herbaceous qualities of peppermint, especially if you are using Tanqueray or Gordon’s. Begin by adding fresh peppermint leaves to your chosen gin in an airtight container. You can also muddle the peppermint a bit if you want to shorten the duration of infusion. Let the infusion steep in a cool, dark place for around two-three days, while periodically tasting the gin to ensure it has achieved the desired minty intensity. Once infused to your liking, strain the gin to remove the peppermint leaves. Mix up the gin with tonic water or make any other peppermint-infused gin cocktails with it. 

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Peppermint-Infused Blended Scotch Whisky

Blended scotch whiskies like Johnnie Walker and Black Dog have mellow and balanced character and can be enhanced with a touch of peppermint infusion. Combine fresh peppermint leaves with the whisky in a sealed container and let it infuse for approximately a week. Make sure you periodically sample the whisky to gauge the development of the minty flavour. Once infused to your preference, strain the whisky to remove the peppermint leaves. The result is a nuanced and sophisticated peppermint-infused blended scotch whisky that adds a refreshing dimension to your whisky-based drinks. 

Peppermint-Infused Single Malt Whisky 

Single malt whiskies like Talisker and Singleton are prized for their complex and distinctive flavours, and can also benefit from a subtle peppermint infusion. However, single malts are delicate, so exercise caution with the intensity of the infusion and opt for subtlety over the jarring taste of mint. Add fresh peppermint leaves to the whisky and allow it to infuse in a sealed container for around three days. Never add chopped or muddled peppermint to single malt and monitor the infusion closely, as the minty notes can intensify quickly. Once the desired flavour is achieved, strain the whisky and enjoy it as it is for the best flavour. You can also make some cocktails with it if you want.