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Gone are the days when I bought flavored simple syrups at the store. Why? Because pretty much any ripe fruit or herb can be turned into a homemade syrup (mint, strawberry, lime, you name it). Not only are simple syrups great for using up leftover produce, they’re seriously so easy to make, and I love getting to control the taste and ingredients. Mint infused simple syrup has always been one of my favorites because it complements so many different recipes. I mean, think about it. What flavors don’t go well with a few sprigs of mint?
What this simple syrup is particularly great for, though, is flavoring mint juleps and other Derby Day cocktails. Just a splash adds so much refreshingly minty flavor. If you’d like to make a batch for yourself (and I highly recommend that you do!), keep reading for my mint julep simple syrup recipe! I’m also sharing some fun ideas for using this mint infused simple syrup below (like, for example, including it in mini mint julep kits).
Homemade Mint Simple Syrup
Mint Simple Syrup Ingredients
Here’s everything you need to make two cups of mint julep simple syrup. Adjust the quantities as necessary for bigger or smaller batches–
- 2 cups water– No need to use distilled water, since you’ll be bringing it to a boil.
- 2 cups granulated sugar– If you’d prefer to not use white sugar, scroll down to the recipe card for substitution ideas!
- 25-30 fresh mint sprigs– For reference, 25-30 sprigs is roughly 1 cup of freshly packed mint leaves. I always err on the side of 30 because I’d rather have more flavor than not enough. Don’t forget to use the stems, too, since they pack just as much minty flavor as the leaves do.
If you find that you don’t have enough fresh mint– or if you aren’t sure, reduce the water and sugar by 1/2 cup each (or more– just be sure to reduce them in equal parts).
If you want to mix up the recipe, here are a few tried-and-true mint simple syrup substitutions–
- Agave Nectar– If you’d like to eliminate the granulated sugar, agave nectar (mixed with distilled water) is a good substitute! Follow the 75% rule, meaning you use 3/4 the amount of liquid sweetener by volume of granulated sugar. So, instead of 2 cups of sugar, you’d use 1 1/2 cups agave nectar. Also, since agave nectar contains quite a bit of water, you’d also want to reduce the amount of water by 2 tablespoons per cup (total of 1 3/4 cups distilled water). Note that there’s no need for boiling the syrup with this substitution method, since agave nectar is already a syrup. Just thoroughly mix the water and agave in a glass container, add in the (thoroughly-washed) mint leaves, and refrigerate.
- Simple Syrup– Eliminate the sugar and water altogether and use 2 cups of store-bought simple syrup. Again, there’s no heating required because it’s already a syrup, so you can just add in the (throughly-washed) mint leaves and refrigerate.
One substitution I specifically don’t recommend is mint extract. It just doesn’t taste the same. In fact, it almost tastes medicinal to me. I may be weird, though, so if you try it and like it, please let me know!
Mint Julep Simple Syrup Recipe
Without further ado, here’s how you make a small batch of homemade mint infused simple syrup–
This first step is optional but highly recommended! Wash and dry the mint sprigs and place them in a plastic bag. To maximize their flavor, smash them with muddler or tin can to release their oils.
Next, combine the mint sprigs, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is a nice golden color, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from heat entirely, cover, and let set for 2 hours.
If you want to let the mint infuse longer, I recommend transferring the syrup (mint sprigs included) into a glass container and letting it set in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Note that the longer it sets, the stronger the mint flavor will be.
After the mint has infused, pour the solution through a fine mesh strainer (I love this set of gold strainers!) and into a clean airtight container. Refrigerate until needed.
How to Store Mint Simple Syrup
Yes, this homemade mint simple syrup is both fridge and freezer-friendly! Here are two ways you can safely store it–
- Fridge– As is the case with most homemade flavored syrups, this mint infused simple syrup will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. You’ll know when it’s starting to go bad when the syrup grows cloudy.
- Freezer– This mint simple syrup can also be frozen into silicone ice trays! I recommend storing the cubes in a freezer-safe bag and thawing them overnight as needed.
Mint Simple Syrup
On top of adding minty to flavor to fresh fruit and desserts, this homemade mint infused simple syrup is perfect for making fresh mint juleps and Kentucky mules on Derby Day. You can also bottle it and give it away as a hostess gift or as Kentucky Derby party favors-- alone or inside of mini mint julep kits!
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fresh mint (25-30 sprigs, stems included)
- Wash and dry the mint sprigs and place them in a plastic bag. To maximize their flavor, smash them with muddler or tin can to release their oils.
- Heat the mint sprigs, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has a nice golden color, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from heat entirely, cover, and let set for 2 hours.
- Pour the solution through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate in an airtight container until needed.
- Use to add flavor to fresh or grilled fruit, refreshing cocktails, and desserts. Another fun option is to divide it into syrup bottles and hand out as hostess gifts or Derby Day party favors (alone or as part of mini mint julep kits)!
Agave Nectar- If you'd like to eliminate the granulated sugar, agave nectar (mixed with distilled water) is a good substitute! Follow the 75% rule, meaning you use 3/4 the amount of liquid sweetener by volume of granulated sugar. So, instead of 2 cups of sugar, you'd use 1 1/2 cups agave nectar. Also, since agave nectar contains quite a bit of water, you'd also want to reduce the amount of water by 2 tablespoons per cup (total of 1 3/4 cups distilled water). Note that there's no need for boiling the syrup with this substitution method, since agave nectar is already a syrup. Just thoroughly mix the water and agave in a glass container, add in the (thoroughly-washed) mint leaves, and refrigerate.
Simple Syrup- Eliminate the sugar and water altogether and use 2 cups of store-bought simple syrup. Again, there's no heating required because it's already a syrup, so you can just add in the (throughly-washed) mint leaves and refrigerate.
Fridge- As is the case with most homemade flavored syrups, this mint infused simple syrup will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. You'll know when it's starting to go bad when the syrup grows cloudy.
Freezer- This mint simple syrup can also be frozen into silicone ice trays! I recommend storing the cubes in a freezer-safe bag and thawing them overnight as needed.
Nutrition InformationYield 16Serving Size 1 oz
Amount Per ServingCalories 97Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 0gSugar 25gProtein 0g
Nutritional information isn't always accurate and can vary based on a number of factors, including but not limited to discrepancies among brands, precision of measurements, and freshness of ingredients.
How to Use Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
Here are some ideas for using mint infused simple syrup–
Let me just tell you that this homemade mint simple syrup makes an amazing gift, especially for Derby lovers. Simple syrups and cocktail mixes are great year-round, but this one’s particularly perfect for holidays and housewarmings. I like to make my own gift tags and divide mine into these glass oil dispensers. The gold pour spout is super cute, and recipients can reuse them for olive oil, vinegar, soap, mouthwash, or whatever else.
Another fun idea is to divide the syrup up into mini bottles and give them away as Kentucky Derby party favors. See these cute mini mint julep kits for inspiration!
Cold Drinks and Cocktails
This mint infused simple syrup is essentially a liquid sweetener, so it’s great for flavoring cold drinks, like iced tea, coffee, and lemonade.
Probably the most common use for simple syrup, though, is cocktails. This mint infused simple syrup is amazing in mint juleps and mojitos! I also like to add a splash to my Kentucky mules, too (recipe coming soon if you don’t know what that is)! Honestly, though, mint complements so many spring and summer drinks, so I recommend experimenting and adding a little here and there to see what you like. For example, I love adding a splash to these skinny watermelon margaritas. It’s seriously so yummy!
Another surprisingly delicious use for this mint julep simple syrup is flavoring desserts. I like to drizzle a little on top of fresh and/or grilled fruit– specifically watermelon, pears, and peaches. It’s also pretty darn delicious on top of vanilla ice cream!
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today! Thanks so much for reading, y’all, and cheers!
Also, as always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any problems with this mint julep simple syrup recipe or any of my others. I love hearing from you guys, and I’m happy to help!
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