Chocolate Mint Syrup

IMG_1226Having exhausted some of the more basic forms of simple syrup I have elected to branch out a bit and try some things that might be a bit different.

I have on my deck a spearmint plant, Tarragon plant, and a very bushy chocolate mint plant.  Mint grows very quickly and can take over a yard if you’re not careful.  Mine are in pots so that I can move them indoors when the weather turns.

Since the chocolate mint is doing so well I wanted to harvest a bit and see what could be done with it.

Having examined some of the various recipes on the net I worked out a ratio that seems to work pretty well.

My basic test run of simple syrup remains the same:

1/3 cup bakers sugar
1/3 cup water

To that we add a small quantity of cocoa powder, in this instance about 2 tablespoons.

Once you’ve whisked the powder and sugar into solution you can apply some heat.

To the now simmering syrup I added about a 1/2 cup of shredded chocolate mint leaves.

I washed the leaves a bit to make sure I cleared anything that might be on them but I think I could have done better.

Stir the mint around a bit, boil for no more than 2 minutes and then allow to cool and steep for another 5.

Next comes the harder bit, you don’t want to leave the mint in the syrup.  It would continue to increase in strength for one, and it would also stick in your throat when you are trying for a smooth cocktail.  A simple strainer over a pyrex bowl allows you to extract the mint leaves.

Allow to cool slightly and then place in a container you can seal and chill in the fridge.

This is chocolate syrup plain and simple and works well on ice cream, in milk and also in cocktails.  The mint has a very herb front flavor which is hard to ignore.  The cool menthol sensation lingers a bit in the mouth when you taste this.

A cocktail will follow as soon as my brain can engage properly.


AM Drinking: Business Time

If you’re ever having one of those mornings where you stayed up way too late, slept way too little and still have to get up and do things that aren’t “work” or operating heavy and dangerous machinery you know the wonders of not having drunk enough the night before.

I create this category for the people who are perpetually at 5 o’clock and see no issue with the thought of making a lovely drink before the sun has rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

business time

This morning we showcase a lovely little beverage that rolls up a number of morning flavors.  It isn’t much to look at, but it helps to get through the sunday doldrums when it’s not warm enough for mojitos but not cold enough for hot cider.

6 oz Milk (2%)
4 oz Coole Swan (irish cream)
1.5 oz Below Deck Coffee Rum
1 oz 360 Double Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Bols Creme de Cacao

I used a good sized Working Glass Tumbler for this one as there was no way my old fashioned was going to hold this much and it would make my collins look a bit weak.  These things will get a full post at some point as a quick and dirty shaker but that’s for another day.

The alcohol presented here isn’t strong enough to curdle the milk so you don’t get the chewy nasty sensation you might otherwise.  This is a strong drink for taking long lovely pulls on over eggs and toast.  I’m not a coffee drinker so the double chocolate and Cacao are pulling double duty tamping down the very very strong coffee flavors from the below deck.  The rum is my favorite base for anything, with brandy a close second, and here you have both caffeine and alcohol in one shot which is really the best of both worlds.

This lives in the same category as the buttery nipple, the white russian and many other cream or milk based drinks.  Entirely opposite of the fruit based drinks one normally sees, this is not a sipping beverage and carries very little in the way of subtlety.  Just watch out because the Coole swan sneaks up on you.