Mint Simple Syrup

July 6, 2009(updated on October 3, 2018)

mint syrup

I have always been a fan of minty things*. As a kid, I would beg my grandfather for some of the Tic Tacs he always carried in on his person (the rattle of that plastic box always takes me back to him as well). I’d trawl the bottom of my mom’s purse for linty Lifesavers. And Christmas time, with its pepperminty candy canes never failed to delight mw.

As the years have gone by, my love of minty things hasn’t diminished, although I find myself gravitating towards less sweet applications than the sticky candies of my youth. Lucky for me, in the last few weeks, I’ve had access to all the mint I can carry, thanks to the garden plot of friends Angie and Thad. They have a most bountiful mint plant and no matter how much we cut from it, the next day it seems to be back, bigger than ever.

We celebrated the 4th of July within spitting distance of that marvelous mint plant, and so I took home a large bouquet after the grilling and drinking was complete. Yesterday, as I tried to clear out the fridge a bit and make room for our lunchtime salads, I pulled that bundle of mint out of the crisper drawer and concocted a plan.

I poured two cups of filtered water into a saucepan and added two cups of cane sugar. I gave the mint a quick rinse (just to get any garden dust off of it) and added it to the pot. I brought the whole thing up to a brief simmer, stirred until the sugar was dissolved and turned off the heat. I let it sit on the stove while I finished the rest of the dishes. When I turned back to it, the syrup was cool enough to handle and I strained it out into a quart jar. Swiping my finger through a trail of drips, I tasted it and was pleased to note that I had captures the green, freshness of the mint perfectly. I plan on mixing this minty simple syrup with sparkling water, for easy evening drinking. You could use it in a mojito if you felt so moved.

This minty simple syrup keeps indefinitely in the fridge. Make an extra jar and stash it away for later.

While we’re on the subject of mint, has anyone made their own mint extract? I did a bit of searching and found that some folks take the same tact that homemade vanilla extract requires (put leaves in vodka, let sit until they’ve given up their essence). Anyone have first-hand experience (I plan on trying it, but thought I’d query the crowd as well).

*Sadly, the man I live with isn’t so fond of the flavor of mint (he searches out toothpaste with the most mild of mint flavor), so I keep my minty habits to myself.

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36 thoughts on "Mint Simple Syrup"

  • hey! i’ve got some mint simple syrup in my fridge. i used it to make strawberry sorbet which i’ve decided should be called mojito sorbet. 🙂 its also good in iced tea.

  • Same issue here. I love mint, but mint in recipes is a no-go thanks to my husband. We’ve even got cinnamon toothpaste.

  • Where does the caramel color come from? Are you cooking the syrup long enough for caramelization (I’ve only bothered to do it until boiling) or is it from the mint?

  • Thanks for this! I have minty iced tea everyday, and I was just thinking about how to keep the mint flavor coming all winter.

  • I make all kind of herbal syrup: mint (a favorite), lemon verbena, elder blossom (makes a terrific lemonade) and anise hyssop are the most recent.

    Using vodka to make mint extract works. Use peppermint. Pack it really tight, and do several batches of steeping. Be aware that the taste won’t be as strong as commercial extract. Also the color will be “muddy” – not clear nor green.

  • My yard is a veritable mint farm (nostalgic aside: my mother’s family farm was rented out to a mint farmer, so my childhood memories of visiting my grandparents smell like spearmint in the fields), and I’ve been meaning to make mint jelly. maybe i’ll skip the jelly step (which will, as I’m stubborn about commercial pectin, require me to make green apple jelly first) and just make a variety of mint syrups sweetened with honey. what a lovely idea.

    in fact, I’m going to go harvest some now. and next year: elder blossom syrup! yum.

  • I wonder if you canned it and placed a few whole mint leaves in each jar — would they continue to impart the flavor as they sat on the shelf? Or would the leaves get mushy, brown and gross?

    I think I need to try this even if it is just a couple of pints.

  • could i make this syrup and freeze in ice cube trays? i realize it might be a bit mush like but i really only want a shot of many different flavors thru the winter. i have a variety of mint plants and some lemon balm. maybe i should dry freeze the leaves and make the syrup in the winter?

  • I added freshly squeezed lemon juice and a shot of lemoncello to my mint syrup and froze it. I think it was two prats lemon juice to one part mint syrup. Lemon granita

  • Sounds delicious. I’ve been drying my mint, but this would be fantastic. Perhaps I could make with honey and simply mix with hot water for mint tea.

    I think making mint essence would be just like making vanilla, I’m considering making lemon verbena essence as soon as I can get my hands on some organic vodka.

  • Kristina, I used a large bundle of mint, probably the equivalent of a very tightly packed cup of leaves.

  • I have become locally famous for my mojitos. The secret…mint-infused simple syrup! Now my wife is planning a fundraiser for the end of October and enlisted me to provide mojitos. I live in Minnesota…my mint is not going to survive til then. I guess I’ll try making the syrup and freezing it til the event. Anyone have another suggestion?

    1. I love Mojitos. Could you give me your recipe. Lately I am finding mine don’t taste that great anymore!

  • Just made this! 6 tiny little jam jars of minty deliciousness! i can’t wait to put a shot in my coffee in the morning! YAY!

  • Just found this website and I love it! I realize I’m a little late to the party and the mint in question is long since gone, but to answer the question about making extract from it: I’ve had some limited success with it. Yes, soak it in vodka until it gives up its oil (a good, long time), then strain the vodka and freeze it. The oil *should* freeze out of the vodka (if you use a glass bowl it’ll collect around the vodka line). In my experience it’s underwhelming compared to the commercial stuff, but it’s worth a try.

  • Is it possible to preserve these syrups in jars? It seems like it should be, but I haven’t been able to find any documentation on this subject. I’d appreciate any insights you may have.

    1. I was also wondering the same thing. Can simple syrups be preserved in jars if you use the same process as you do for canning jams and jellies?

      This sounds delicious!

  • Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and on no account seem to get something done.

  • I found this same recipe in the August 1998 issue of Gourmet — great minds thinking alike! More recently, I used it in a cold sugar plum soup, and it was amazing. Love your site — am just getting my feet wet in preserving, and you have such nice ideas.

  • Hi! Wondering if you ended up trying the mint with vodka for an extract. I’d like to try it while my mint plant is still alive… Do you think boiling the vodka would make sense, or do you think it’s better to simply steep the vodka with mint leaves for a few weeks/months? Eager for your advice! 🙂

      1. I’d like to give this as gifts…can it be canned? I noticed you canned lemon syrup but the lemon adds acidity

    1. You could potentially pressure can this syrup, though I’m not aware of instructions for pressure canning syrups. It unfortunately doesn’t have enough acid for boiling water bath canning.

  • Lazy girls mint julep — 1 shot of bourbon, 1 shot of mint syrup, on ice in a tall glass. Fill with sparkling water and garnish with a mint leaf. So good!!