Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drinking Mint, Part 2.

Yesterday’s post on the definitive Southern US beverage of mint-julep was the result of a deviation from the rather convoluted search for the prize-winning recipes from the state-wide competition run by the Milk Board of Victoria (Australia) in 1936. It seems the board had copied the idea from the British Milk Board, who ran a similar competition in the previous year. The competition proved to everyone’s obvious relief that ‘Victorian housewives show they know how to make attractive milk dishes.’

One of the winning recipes was for a mint beverage at quite the opposite spectrum to the mint-julep.

Supper Drink.
Place one or two strong peppermints in one cup of boiling milk, stir till dissolved.This is especially wholesome for winter nights before retiring to bed or before setting out on a cold journey.

That is not the end of the mint beverage theme. I give you two more, the first from the
Sydney Morning Herald in January 1918, in response to a correspondent’s request for recipes using mint.

First – used as a beverage. The leaves of mint should be steeped in sherry, then pass the flavoured wine through ice, till the whole has become impregnated with the mint aroma. When it is poured off it is regarded as a deliciously cool beverage, or stimulating cordial.

And finally, from the Southern Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes, 1935. What is it about those Southerners and mint?

Mint Tea
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
Grated rind of one orange
Juice of 6 oranges
6 glasses of very strong tea
Several sprays of mint.
Boil the sugar, water, and orange rind about 5 minutes. Remove from the fire and add the crushed leaves of mint and let cool. Into the tea put the orange juice. Half fill the iced tea glasses with crushed ice, add the tea, and sweeten to taste with the mint syrup. A sprig of mint or a slice of orange may be added to each glass as a garnish.

You don’t need to flood my email box, I know I have missed the liqueur, crème de menthe. It was deliberate. I like mint, but it will take me some time to understand crème de menthe.

Quotation for the Day.

Those herbs which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but, being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wild thyme and watermints. Therefore, you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.
Francis Bacon

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