How do you make liquid mint?

Making liquid mint at home is an easy DIY project that results in a versatile and refreshing final product. Whether you want to make mint extract for culinary uses, mint essential oil for aromatherapy, or a minty flavoring syrup just for fun, the process is simple and customizable based on your goals. In this 5000 word guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to make high quality, homemade liquid mint at home through steeping and distillation methods.

What is liquid mint?

Liquid mint refers to any mint-infused liquid that captures the flavor and/or aroma of mint leaves. There are a few main types of liquid mint:

Mint extract

Mint extract is made by steeping fresh mint leaves in a solution like alcohol, vinegar, glycerin, or even just hot water. It’s used mainly for cooking and baking to add robust minty flavor to dishes and drinks.

Mint essential oil

Mint essential oil is made by distilling fresh mint leaves to carefully extract the aromatic mint oil. It’s used for aromatherapy, skin care, household cleaning, and more.

Mint syrup

Mint syrup is a sweet, concentrated mint infusion made with sugar and water. It’s often used to flavor drinks, candies, ice cream, and more.

Why make your own liquid mint?

Here are some of the main benefits of making your own liquid mint at home:

It’s customizable

When you make it yourself, you can choose the exact mint variety, strength, and flavor profile you want.

It’s more affordable

Purchasing liquid mint products can get expensive, but making it at home costs just a fraction of the price.

You control the quality

It’s easy to ensure high quality ingredients and precise infusion methods when you DIY.

It makes great gifts

Your homemade liquid mint makes a wonderful handmade gift for others.

Choosing your mint

The first step in making liquid mint is choosing which mint variety you want to use. Here are some top options:


Spearmint has a sweeter, cooler taste and scent. It’s a popular choice for cooking, teas, and mint syrups.


Peppermint has a stronger, more menthol flavor. It’s commonly used in candies, extraction, and aromatherapy.

Chocolate mint

Chocolate mint has an intense minty flavor with earthy, cocoa undertones. It’s perfect for desserts and flavor extracts.

Pineapple mint

Pineapple mint tastes like a blend of mint and tropical pineapple. It makes a great addition to summer drinks.

Ginger mint

Ginger mint boasts both minty and gingery notes. It’s excellent for homemade tea blends and savory Asian dishes.

Mint Variety Flavor Profile Best Uses
Spearmint Sweeter, cooler Cooking, teas, syrups
Peppermint Stronger, more menthol Candies, extraction, aromatherapy
Chocolate Mint Intense minty with cocoa notes Desserts, extracts

How to make mint extract

Making mint extract just requires fresh mint, a liquid solvent, and a bit of steeping time. Here’s how:


– 1 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
– 1 cup liquid solvent (vodka, glycerin, apple cider vinegar, etc.)


1. Wash and pat dry fresh mint leaves.

2. Pack leaves into a clean glass jar or bottle.

3. Pour liquid solvent over leaves until covered.

4. Seal jar and store in cool, dark place. Shake gently every few days.

5. Steep for at least 2 weeks, or up to 6 weeks for stronger flavor.

6. Strain out mint leaves by pouring through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.

7. Transfer finished extract to an airtight bottle and store in a cool, dark place.

8. Use mint extract to add flavor to recipes, drinks, and more!

You can customize the strength by adjusting the mint to solvent ratio. Use more mint for a more concentrated extract. The steeping time will also affect potency. Sample it after 2 weeks, but note that extending the infusion to 4-6 weeks can result in a much stronger mint flavor.

Tips for making great mint extract

– Use young, healthy, vibrant mint leaves for best flavor
– Ensure leaves are submerged in the solvent while infusing
– Give it a good shake every few days to distribute the mint oils
– Strain through cheesecloth to remove all debris and particles
– Use vodka or alcohol for a longer shelf life of 1-2 years
– Use glycerin for an alcohol-free, medium shelf life of 6-12 months
– Store the finished extract in the refrigerator for maximum freshness

How to make mint essential oil

Mint essential oil requires a more complicated distillation process, but yields a highly concentrated, therapeutic oil. Here’s an overview:

Ingredients & Equipment

– 5 cups fresh mint leaves and stems, chopped
– Water
– Distiller or still
– Herb press
– Glass vials for storing oil


1. Harvest fresh mint leaves and chop finely, adding any stems as well.

2. Mash mint in a herb press to release the aromatic oils.

3. Place mashed mint into the still, topping with water to fill.

4. Heat the still, collecting the condensed liquid that drips out.

5. The oil will separate from the water condenstate. Carefully collect just the oil fraction.

6. Filter pure essential oil through a paper coffee filter to remove debris.

7. Transfer finished mint oil into dark glass vials for storage.

8. Store in a cool, dark place and use for aromatherapy, massage oil, and home remedies.

Proper distillation requires precise temperature and pressure controls. Consider investing in an at-home still for best extraction results. Always follow safety precautions when working with distillation equipment.

Tips for making mint essential oil

– Chop mint finely to maximize the surface area
– Mash leaves well before distilling to release the aromatic compounds
– Distill slowly and carefully to get the highest quality oil
– Filter well – a clear, transparent oil is a sign of purity
– Avoid plastic containers which can degrade the oil over time
– Always label bottles clearly with name and date

How to make mint syrup

Simple, sweet mint syrup only takes 10 minutes to prepare. Follow these steps:


– 1 cup water
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
– Few drops green food coloring (optional)


1. Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

2. Add mint leaves and muddle lightly with a wooden spoon.

3. Let stand 10 minutes to infuse mint flavor.

4. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

5. Stir in drops of food coloring for a vibrant green color, if desired.

6. Transfer to an airtight bottle and store refrigerated.

7. Use to make refreshing drinks, desserts, marinades, and more!

Feel free to adjust the sugar concentration to taste. More sugar equals a thicker, richer syrup. Just maintain a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. Steeping longer than 10 minutes can deepen the minty flavor as well.

Serving ideas for mint syrup

– Add to sparkling water or club soda for homemade soda
– Mix with lime juice and rum for a mojito cocktail
– Drizzle over fresh fruit like watermelon, peaches, and pineapple
– Sweeten up tea, lemonade, or iced coffee
– Use in desserts like ice cream, pies, cakes, and puddings
– Whisk into vinaigrettes and marinades for salads and meat
– Flavor up your favorite smoothie recipe

Storing and preserving liquid mint

Proper storage is key to maximizing the shelf life of your homemade liquid mint products. Follow these tips:

Mint extract

– Store in a cool, dark place at room temperature
– Refrigeration can extend shelf life slightly
– Vodka and alcohol extracts last 1-2 years
– Glycerin and vinegar extracts last 4-6 months

Mint essential oil

– Store in dark glass bottles out of direct light
– Keep in a cool, dry location under 80°F
– Shelf life is 1-3 years
– Monitor for cloudiness or change in scent over time

Mint syrup

– Refrigerate after opening for up to 3 months
– For longer storage, freeze mint syrup in airtight containers
– Thaw in the refrigerator before using frozen syrup
– Boiling water bath canning prolongs shelf life up to 1 year unopened

No matter which liquid mint recipe you try, proper storage will help retain the fresh flavor and potency much longer. Always discard if you notice any mold, off smells, separation, or other signs of spoilage.

Troubleshooting liquid mint

Having issues with your homemade liquid mint turning out right? Here are some common problems and solutions:

Mint extract too weak

– Use more mint leaves in the infusion
– Steep the mint for longer (up to 6 weeks)
– Shake the jar daily to distribute mint oils
– Switch to a higher proof alcohol as the solvent

Mint oil won’t separate from water

– Ensure the distiller is reaching the correct temperature
– Let cool completely before attempting to separate layers
– Use a separatory funnel for cleaner oil separation

Mint syrup loses flavor quickly

– Use fresh young mint leaves, not old or wilted
– Once opened, store in the refrigerator
– Consider canning the syrup for long-term storage

Mint oil has debris or sediment

– Filter through an extra coffee filter after distilling
– Allow oil to fully settle, then decant clear oil off top
– Distill in smaller batches for cleaner results

With high quality ingredients and the proper techniques, you should be able to achieve delicious homemade liquid mint on your first try. But don’t get discouraged if you need a few attempts to perfect your recipe.

Recipes using liquid mint

Your homemade liquid mint unlocks so many refreshing recipe opportunities. Here are just a few ideas to try:

Easy Mint Chip Ice Cream

– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 cup whole milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
– 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Whisk cream, milk, sugar, and mint extract in a bowl until smooth. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Add chocolate chips in last 5 minutes of churning. Enjoy right away or freeze until firm.

Refreshing Watermelon Mint Slushies

– 5 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
– 1/4 cup mint syrup
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– Lime slices for garnish

Blend watermelon cubes with mint syrup and lime juice until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime slices. For adult slushies, add a shot of silver rum to each glass. Enjoy immediately.

Grilled Salmon with Mint Pesto

– 1/4 cup mint leaves
– 1/4 cup basil leaves
– 1 garlic clove
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets

Blend mint, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper until smooth. Brush pesto over salmon fillets. Grill over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Serve salmon topped with extra drizzle of the pesto.

The possibilities are endless when cooking and mixing drinks with your homemade liquid mint. Have fun experimenting with new mint infusion ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some common questions about making liquid mint at home:

What’s the difference between mint extract and mint essential oil?

Mint extract is made by steeping mint leaves in a solvent like alcohol to infuse the flavor. Mint essential oil is made by distilling the leaves to extract the aromatic compounds. Extract is used for flavor and essential oil is used for aromatherapy, topical use, etc.

Which mint variety is best for extraction?

Peppermint and spearmint are the most popular for making extracts and oils since they have strong, pure mint flavor. But you can experiment with other mint varieties as well.

Is distilled mint oil safe for ingesting?

No, mint essential oil should not be ingested internally. It is highly concentrated and intended for external use only as an aromatherapy oil.

How long does mint extract last?

The shelf life depends on the liquid used. Alcohol extracts can last 1-2 years stored in a cool, dark place. Glycerin and vinegar extracts last 4-6 months.

What is mint syrup used for?

Mint syrup is a versatile sweetener that can flavor desserts, drinks, marinades, fruit salads, smoothies, and anything you want to add a minty kick to!


Creating your own liquid mint at home opens up a whole world of recipes, remedies, and refreshing flavors to enjoy. Whether you want to sample a few simple mint syrups or dive into the science of extraction, you’re sure to feel a sense of satisfaction from DIY-ing your own unique mint infusions. Just be sure to pay close attention to details like ingredient quality, specific methods, and proper storage conditions to end up with great results you can be proud of. So grab some fresh mint leaves and start experimenting with homemade liquid mint today!

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