It seems as if there won’t be any other herb as famous and f(l)avoured as the mint. Mostly known for the Mojito, yet indisepnsable for the Julep, a modern bar without the mint is hardly imaginable . But where does it come from? How to seize it sensorily? How many varieties are there and how to work with it? It’s time for a stock!
Fountain of Mint:
Inevitably the mint finds it’s roots like so often in the greek mythology. It was back then when scary-looking and abominable gangland boss Hades tried to seduce the beautiful nymph Minte. Aware of her husband’s affection for Minte, his wife maledicts Minte to change her into a herb which today is known as Mint. Throughout human history many different tribes of various ethnicities used this herb for diverging purposes. The Romans for exemple realized it’s healing poweragainst headaches, sickness and digestion disorders whereas the old Egyptians embalmed the corpses with it before putting them in sarcophagusses.
Flavour of Mint:
It first has to be revealed that there are around 20-30 different varieties of Mint of which each and every sort has it’s very own and specific characteristic. We, at this place, try to uncover the three most common sorts. Peppermint, bush Mint and horse mint. Concerning it’s look ,it becomes hard to tell horse mint from bush mint, whereas peppermint has quiet a special look in terms of the physical structure of the leaves since it’s the hybrid of bush mint and bergamont mint. Tasting the mint, one directly perceives it’s fresh character which comes from the substance of Menthol and Menthon e.g. Piperitin ( mainly known for it’s appearance in eucalyptus) gives the mint those lightly spicy notes, Jasmon (scent of jasmine nightshade) gives it a sweet and flora touch.
Function(s) of Mint:
If there was a competition for herbs, the mint would definitely be starring as the real diva that demands to be treated sophistically. If it dries, it becomes less intense (even though not all atheric oils are necessarily gone). It so becomes the bartenders obligation to store the herb in fresh water and keep it away from daylight. Remove the bottom leaves so that only the truss can fully profit from the water. The humidity reminds the mint of it’s roots, temperate zones in Europe and Middle East. Piperitin and Jasmon are water and alcohol-soluble and dispense their aroma at 30-50 centigrade. Same goes for Menthol which is additonally fat-soluble. By the way, mint best harmonizes with dill, parsley and basil. A bartender cuts capors! We strongly recommend the use of castor sugar. It is a very fine type of sugar that has a distinct hygroscopic character which transports the atheric oils of the mint very well and unites all the different flavours the best way. Your should not treat mint to harsh though. Hitting it twice with your hand or gently muddling the mint absolutely does it. If you exaggerate here, you risk to bring up all it’s bitter flavour.In terms of the freshness of the lime juice, less is more. Instead of putting the lime wedges directly in the glas, we recommend to use the freshly squeezed lime juice about 4 hours after producing. Experiments have shown that at that time, lime juice works even better than being freshly squeezed right into the tin.
Formula of Mint:
It is undoubtedly because of it’s undeniable status as most characteristic drink with mint that we have chosen to feature ‚The Mojito’ in this week’s article. Lukas Motejzik from Zephyr-Bar and his newly opened Herzog in Munich came up with an interesting twist on the classic Mojito some time ago. It requires a special mint-milk syrup. Raising the curtain on the ‚Milky Mojito’.
50ml light rum
30ml freshly squeezed lime-juice
Put all ingredients into a shaker and give it a good old shake. Strain it into the pre-cooled Highball-glas that has to be filled with ice cubes. Fill it up with some soda and garnish your Mojito with some mint leaves.
*Heat 1l of milk together with 1kg of sugar. Let it cool down. Put the syrup with a truss of mint into a plastic bag (preferably evacuate it) and freeze it for approx. 24 hours. Defrost it the next day and strain the mint out. We freeze the mint in order to break it cells so that the ethereal oils can best mingle with the syrup.