This article originally appeared on my other site, Sunny Slope Farm.
Simple syrup is a key ingredient for many summer cocktails, including the mint julep and the mojito. But it’s not just for the boozy set: simple syrup makes a great substitution for sugar in lemonade, and brushing a coat over each layer of a cake can keep it from drying out.
Simple syrup is, well, pretty simple to make – simply heat sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio until the sugar dissolves, cool, and voila!
I have a couple of very prolific mint plants in the backyard needed to trim them back a little. On a whim I thought I’d try to make a mint-infused simple syrup to help give those refreshing summer drinks a little extra boost.
To start, simply combine the sugar and water and apply heat. Not too much, you want to gently bring the mixture up to a simmer so that the sugar will dissolve. Give it a stir from time to time to help the process along.
While the syrup is heating, remove your mint leaves from the stems and then rinse and dry them. I used my salad spinner to dry the leaves but a towel works fine too.
Next, place the mint leaves between a couple of paper towels and make a few passes with a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin then you can use a jar, sturdy glass or something similar. The idea here is to gently bruise the leaves to release more of their oils.
Don’t forget to stir your sugar-water mixture on the stove!
Once the sugar is completely dissolved add the mint leaves to the syrup and stir to make sure that they are submerged. Cover your pan and let the leaves steep for 10-15 minutes. Check your syrup after 10 minutes to see if the mint flavor is strong enough for you. If not, give it another five minutes or so.
When you’re happy with the flavor, just strain the syrup into a jar. After it cools, cover it and put it in the fridge. Your mint-infused simple syrup will be good for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.