15 Jun 2014

Garden Mint Cordial

At the back of my parents garden lies a stretch of semi-wild land, a former cultivated garden, where wild passiflora, vines, aniseed, melissa and garden mint are growing as nature intended. They came with the soil, the land, and thrive with the seasons, little to no human intervention involved. I do keep an eye on them though and the mint gets my undivided attention, especially at this time of year when the weather is hotting up. Throughout the day, I brew some refreshing mint tea and a few days ago I even threw together this dead easy cordial!

Psssst, if you are partial to a cocktail, consider cutting the cordial with a dash of Bourbon whiskey for a cheat's version of the Mint Julep - yep, my bad!

Serves: 2.5 litres (5lbs) cordial
Preparation: 10 mins
Infusion Time: 3 hours
  • Generous bunch, approx 220g (7.76oz) fresh organic garden mint (full stalks, i.e. with the leaves on)
  • 1l (2pts) still filtered water (at room temperature)
  • 1.5kgs (3lbs) white caster sugar
Pour the water into a large saucepan and add all of the sugar to it without stirring. Bring to a light boil. Add the bunch of garden mint to the pan, a few stalks at a time, pushing them into the water with a wooden spoon. Leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the cooker. Put the lid on the pan and leave to infuse for 3 hours with the lid on.

When the time is up, take off the lid, breathe in the sweet minty aroma, plunge a tablespoon in, check the consistency of the cordial (should be slightly thicker than water but not too syrupy, coat the spoon, and have a light amber colouring - resembling elderflower cordial). It is recommended that you taste the cordial, as depending on the variety of mint used, you may want to leave it to infuse an extra hour in order to intensify the flavours. Please note that wild mint will naturally be more potent than the cultivated store-bought varieties.

Filter the cordial through a sieve and preferably into a glass preserve jar that can hold up to 2.5kgs (5lbs) liquid. Discard the mint, after pressing any remaining juices into the cordial. Leave to cool down completely without any lid on. Once cool, tighten the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. Make sure to use up the cordial within 4 weeks.

As a rough guideline, go for 1 part cordial to 1 part water when serving as a drink, and adjust to taste if need be. The cordial may be used to sweeten fruit salads, waffles, pancakes and yoghurts, poured onto ice-cream and sorbets, or as a basis to cheat's Mint Juleps or Mojitos. Perfect for ice teas too! It is a pretty versatile and easy-going cordial indeed! Have fun, y'all!

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