Mint Syrup and Mojitos

This post was supposed to be about mint meringue cookies, and it’s not. Instead, this is a post about mint simple syrup and how to use it to make the best (that’s not hyperbole) mojitos. Clear out some refrigerator space, you’re going to want to keep this syrup on hand.

The creation of this syrup was fueled by wanting to make mint meringues that actually looked like mint meringues. Not that you wouldn’t believe me if I said a white meringue was mint flavored, but I wanted the cookie to visually match the description. Also, I don’t cook with food coloring so making them green that way wasn’t an option. 
Growing up we had mint growing around our house in different small patches that my father would cultivate every year, helping them to grow and spread. We used mint in cooking and especially for tea. In the ways of our family living in the Middle East, we would steep mint leaves in hot water and sugar to make mint tea, the perfect end to a big meal. Very quickly, the mint leaves got darker and by then end of the night they were muddy colored in little heaps at the bottom of the glass.

Mint turns black quickly once chopped or cooked. That’s why you’re often advised to wait till the last second to use it on your dish if you want the bright green color. I wanted the bright green color so I thought about blanching and set off online to look for advice or thoughts on blanching mint and making mint syrup.

I ended up reading a great article about making vibrant green mint simple syrup. I made the syrup and then when I was ready to make the meringues I prepared them Italian style which meant pouring super hot syrup into the egg whites as you’re beating them. I upped the sugar in my syrup, brought to temp, poured it in, made incredibly light and fluffy meringue, sloppily used a plastic bag with a corner cut off (I think I really need to invest in a basic pastry bag and tips), and piped out some mini mint meringue drops.

They were so delicious right out of the oven. The delicate wafer-like crispiness when you bit into them gave way to a beautiful mint flavor.  Then I left them to dry. And that’s when I learned I had failed.

Without thinking it through, I had made meringues on what would be the beginning of the most humid week we’ve had so far. The humidity didn’t let the cookies dry and as the wet in the air increased throughout the afternoon the cookies became sticky piles of egg whites and sugar melting into themselves. Hopefully, I’ll redo them one day to share the recipe. Failing in the kitchen is never fun.

As I mourned this mess the next couple days, it was becoming increasingly humid, hot, and straight up gross outside. So…mojitos.

Even though it’s a little extra work up front in making the syrup, once that’s done you’ll have it hanging out in your fridge and then putting together a mojito can happen incredibly fast. I was so excited by the recipe that I made a bunch throughout the week for friends who stopped by. Because who can say no to a mojito?
Here’s to summer and all the wonderful warm (and hopefully not too humid) days ahead!
Mint Syrup, adapted from this Food Republic recipe
*The original recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio of sugar and water to make a sweeter syrup. I prefer my drinks less sweet and a 1:1 ratio was spot-on! I often find mojitos to taste way too sugary, but this was really well-balanced and perfectly sweet.
Mint Syrup and Mojitos
Ingredients
Mint Syrup:
  • 7-10 sprigs of mint
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
Mojito (measurements for 1 drink):
  • 1 oz lime juice (about 1 lime well juiced)
  • 1 oz mint syrup
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 5 mint leaves torn up
  • Ice
Instructions
Mint Syrup:
  1. Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small pot, and over medium heat, stir till the sugar is fully dissolved. Immediately remove from it from the heat and allow it to cool a little.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. While it's boiling prep a bowl with ice and cold water and set to the side.
  3. Using tongs, grip the mint stems and submerge the leaves in the water fully for 15 seconds. Remove them and immediately place them in the ice bath to cool. Leave them in the water for 1 minute.
  4. Take them out and remove the leaves from the stems, place them on paper towels, and pat dry.
  5. Combine the blanched mint leaves and simple syrup in a blender and blend on high until it's super well blended and you can't see any visible leaves (about 1 minute). Strain the syrup through a fine strainer and keep the syrup refrigerated until you're ready to use it!
Mojito:
  1. Combine the lime juice, mint syrup, and rum in a shaker with ice. Tear the mint leaves and add it to the shaker. Shake the ingredients well and strain over a glass of ice. Garnish with mint or lime and serve!