Despite the fact that we have a pretty well stocked bar in our kitchen for entertaining guests, to be honest I rarely drink alcohol. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine if we go out to dinner, but other than that, most alcohol doesn't appeal to me anymore.
The holidays, though, are a bit of an exception.
It all began a few years back when I found a pretty holiday book that explained how to make your own liqueurs. I was amazed by how easily I could transform vodka into whatever type of liqueur that appealed to me. The book showed how to make basic liqueurs like coffee and orange, mimicking Kahlúa and Cointreau. So, I began with coffee liqueur and experimented some more on my own from there.
One of our favorites was prailine liqueur. I'm actually brewing up a batch right now, and I'll be showing you how I make it very soon!
I've always been a DIY-er, and, even as a kid was making all of my Christmas gifts. From the year that I painted to ceramics, to the year that I painted the not-so-successful oil paintings. (That's really not my strong suit.) 😉
As I got older, I branched out into foodie gifts, and one year I made liqueurs. I'll tell you the story of how my prailine liqueur became a most-wanted repeat gift each year for a special someone, but today I'm going to share with you my latest experiment in making liqueurs, homemade peppermint liqueur from fresh mint leaves.
I have seen recipes online for making peppermint liqueur, but most of them use peppermint extracts or essential oils, and that feels a bit like cheating to me. I will say that by doing it that way, you end up with a nice, clear, colorless peppermint liqueur which is very quick and simple to make! So, if you're looking for a last minute DIY liqueur, then I guess that would be the best way to do it.
I, on the other hand, like to do things completely from scratch when I can, so I began with a bunch of fresh mint leaves.
Making homemade peppermint liqueur is actually very simple, and it's the perfect way to add a festive touch to your parties.
Homemade Peppermint Liqueur
- 3 cups packed mint leaves
- vodka Enough to cover them
- 1 cup sugar I used unrefined demerara sugar.
Simple Sugar Syrup
- 1 cup water
- Rinse your mint leaves and place in a large glass jar.
- Cover them with vodka until completely, or almost completely, covered.
- Let them steep for several weeks. You can occasionally shake them, if you remember, but it isn't a necessary step. Mine were steeping for just over a month, but you really don't need that long!
- Strain out the leaves from your vodka. You now have a peppermint extract! Save a little bit of it in a separate bottle for recipes, if you like.
- To make your simple sugar syrup, dissolve 1 part sugar to 1 part water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
- To finish making your liqueur, add a bit of the sugar syrup to your peppermint vodka (aka. peppermint extract) to taste. I used 3 parts vodka to 1 part sugar syrup, but you can make it more or less sweet to suit your taste buds.
Homemade peppermint liqueur made form fresh mint leaves isn't clear or green, but more of an amber color. If you use an unrefined demerara sugar like I did, it will become an even darker brown.
The color doesn't bother me, especially because the flavor is so naturally minty, I like that it is a natural color. If the color doesn't look minty enough to you, though, add a bit of food coloring, if you must. 😉
I ended up making up a label for my liqueur. Feel free to print it out and use it, if you like!
Happy holidays to all, wherever you may be celebrating them!