A Medley of Mint for Mojitos, Juleps and More

IMG_8491Photo is Kentucky Colonel Spearmint

Today I chatted with Anna Mitchell on the Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio, about mint and its Biblical roots.

Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  
Mint is one of our most familiar herbs

Because the mint called Habek is still extensively cultivated in the Middle East, this species is presumed to be the mint of the New Testament.  But scholars don’t agree completely on this, since there were probably many mints then as there are today and you know, mint hybridizes freely so could produce lots of different offspring. I have Habek mint in my Bible garden. it’s a very savory sort of mint – not sweet tasting like spearmint.

 

How was mint used in cooking during Bible days?
Mint was valued for its fresh aroma and often used to flavor meat, grains and of course, salads like Tabouleh. Growing up Lebanese, we used peppermint in our foods, and that’s still my mint of choice.
Also an important “strewing” herb, mint stems were hung in doorways and thrown on dirt floors.  
Mint Tea Punch
Ingredients
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 12 sprigs fresh mint
  • 4 tea bags
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 3 orange slices for garnish (optional)
  • 3 lemon slices for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  • Place the tea bags and mint sprigs into a large pitcher. Pour boiling water over them, and allow to steep for about 8 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags and mint leaves, squeezing out excess liquid. Stir in sugar until dissolved, then stir in the orange juice and lemon juice. Pour in the cold water. Serve over ice cubes, garnished with orange or lemon slices.
Good Mojitos
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 5 mint leaves – try Mojito mint!
  • ice cubes
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 4 ounces soda water
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Instructions
  • Muddle the lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves together in the bottom of a cocktail glass until the mint has broken down a bit, about 1 minute. Fill the glass with ice cubes. Add the rum and soda water over the ice. Pour the mixture back and forth from from the glass to another glass to mix. Garnish with the lime wedge and enjoy.

Kentucky Derby style mint julep

Here’s my home made version of this famous drink. First you have to make a spearmint simple syrup.

Mint simple syrup

Good in other drinks, or stirred into fresh fruit.

Ingredients

1 cup each sugar and water

1 packed cup spearmint leaves or more to taste, smooshed with wooden spoon to release volatile oils

Instructions

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Pour over mint which you’ve placed in a heat proof jar. Cover, refrigerate overnight and strain. Keeps a month refrigerated.

Make a mint julep

Ideally, the ice will start melting, creating a memorable drink.

Fill a julep cup or 12 oz. glass with crushed ice.

Add up to 3 oz. Kentucky bourbon 

Stir in 2 tablespoons or more of mint simple syrup

Stir until very well mixed. Garnish with mint sprig and insert straw. IMG_8491

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