Beyond Peppermint: 7 Mint Varieties To Use In Your Cocktails
We all know and love mint, after all, it’s in so many of the products we depend on every day. But next time you unwrap a new stick of gum, take a moment to consider which mint it is you’re about to enjoy. To us commoners, mint is mint, and there’s very little demarcation between the different varieties, but with over 20 unique types there’s actually a lot to choose from.
Mint forms the backbone of many classic cocktails from the mojito to the mint julep an is used to elevate hundreds more in between. It’s a staple of the mixologist’s arsenal, and getting to know the different varieties can help you better understand which one to use in a particular situation and how it can add to your drink.
7 Types Of Mint For Your Cocktails
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Peppermint, a classic mint variety commonly found in gardens and on balconies, is a cross between brook mint (Mentha aquatica) and green mint (Mentha spicata). It's prized for its high menthol content and peppery-spicy aroma. Easy to cultivate, this perennial plant is undemanding and hardy.
Moroccan Mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa Morocco)
Originating from North Africa, Moroccan mint is highly appreciated, especially in Morocco, where it is often used in sweetened tea. Known for its cooling and refreshing taste, this mint is also popular for its compact growth and easy maintenance.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
The go-to for cocktails, spearmint adds a light, bright sweetness to spirits, balancing and enhancing their flavours. Mojito Mint and Kentucky Colonel are noteworthy cultivars with specific cocktail applications.
Mojito Mint (Mentha nemorosa)
Also known as Hemingway mint or cocktail mint, Mojito Mint is ideal for refreshing cocktails like Mojitos or Hugo. Fast-growing and aromatic, it blooms in summer, attracting insects with its bright purple flowers.
Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita)
For a creative twist, consider chocolate mint. Derived from peppermint, it imparts an aroma reminiscent of after-dinner mints. Use it sparingly to avoid overpowering a cocktail with menthol.
Orange Mint (Mentha piperita citrata)
A peppermint cultivar, orange mint pairs well with lime in Mojitos and offers versatility in various cocktails. Try it in Orange Mint Margaritas or Orange Whiskey Smashes, or experiment with drying the leaves for infused spirits.
With a leaf featuring creamy white 'piping,' Pineapple Mint adds a tart pineapple flavour with a lingering note of spearmint. Ideal for frozen or blended drinks, it enhances the freshness of Bloody Marys when muddled with vodka before adding the base.
How Can You Grow Mint At Home
Now you might be wondering how you’re going to use all these interesting new varieties when all you can find at the store is a sad, slightly limp bunch of peppermint. The good news is that even for the novice gardener, growing mint at home is a very achievable goal. Mint is one of the most hardy herbs and is extremely difficult to kill, and some gardeners even consider it a weed. So even if you were to grow it in a planter on your balcony, chances are, you’ll soon have a fresh and unending supply to enjoy.
So if you're looking to ad a new dimension to your cocktails, get your hands on some seeds or visit your local nursery, and take your new mint skills out for a whirl.