Peppermint Twist

Ingredients for Peppermint Twist on a kitchen counter.

We had the idea to make a little cordial for the holidays, and settled on a peppermint flavor. Most recipes advised using vodka – but you know the rules – we found a tasty-looking one that featured cognac.

I won’t take you through the trials (and easily corrected errors) but we have what we think is a really tasty treat, using brandy, sugar and peppermint oil.

First, the gentleman at the liquor store steered me toward American brandy (rather than the French cognac that the recipe called for), saying that it would cooperate better with the overall flavor. I can’t remember his exact words, which were more poetic, but he seemed to feel the cognac would call too much attention to itself.

I looked at two recipes that featured wildly different proportions. One advised equal parts sugar and water, then two-and-a-half times as much brandy, while the other advised roughly twice the sugar *and* brandy. I used less brandy than this because my initial taste tests found it to be pretty strong, though with the mellowing of the flavor as it ages, maybe more brandy is a good idea. I am definitely guilty of using quite a bit of sugar though.

Basically, start by making a simple syrup – boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, then add peppermint oil, which will leave oil slicks on the surface. After some cooling, add the brandy. After more cooling, pour the mixture in jars or bottles that seal (no corks, which look awesome but allow evaporation) and shake them a few times a day.

The kitchen smelled amazingly light and fresh!!!

The recipes both said to age for about 2 weeks; I tasted after 2 days and felt like it could be ready. The flavors had definitely mellowed and smoothed out in that short time. The liquid had also become noticeably more viscous, like a nice syrup.

It sports a caramel color, due to the organic sugar that I used, and also the brandy. From an aesthetic standpoint, I see why people use things like cherries for this sort of thing, but I feel like the color is perfect for blending into a hot chocolate! And I still think it would be amazing over ice cream, no matter what color.

Caramel-colored Peppermint Twist in tiny jars.

Final proportion is roughly 2:1:1 sugar, water, brandy, with about 1 tsp of peppermint oil for each cup of water. For the large batch I made, it was 10 cups of sugar, almost 6 cups water, 4 1/2 brandy, 5 tsp peppermint oil. Depending on how it ultimately ages, there might be more room for adjustment, but a few days in, this is a keeper!

Caramel-colored Peppermint Twist, with oil droplets on the surface, in a bottle.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Sugar

  • 1 cup Water

  • 1 cup Brandy

  • 1 tsp Peppermint Oil, for every cup of water

  • These can be adjusted to taste!

Directions

  • Boil water and sugar until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and add Peppermint Oil.
  • Cool and add Brandy.
  • When completely cool, transfer to jars or bottles with lids (not corks). Put in a cabinet where it’s dark and shake a few times a day.
  • By Day Two, flavors will mellow and meld together; texture will be pleasantly viscous. You can continue to age or begin using now. The complete aging process may take up to 2 weeks.
  • Happy Holidays!
Created on December 14

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