Chocolate mint: it’s not just a killer flavor combo, it’s actually a type of plant!
Mentha piperita is a species with the creamy body and faint aftertaste of cocoa. It is lovely steeped in water for a simple tea, and it makes a fine addition to rich desserts.
But why stick with the obvious applications when you can venture into more creative territory?
Rather than add minty flavor to chocolate, let’s add a hint of cocoa to our mint – a mint mojito, that is.
In this recipe, we’ve substituted the typical spearmint with the chocolate variety and added a touch of cocoa to our simple syrup. Paired with the tangy flavor of fresh lime, the result is unbelievably refreshing.
While the cocoa veers away from the usual mojito flavor profile, the presence of lime allows for a rich cocktail that won’t weigh you down.
For the best results, I recommend using a dark cocoa powder. The deeper flavor balances beautifully with the brightness of the lime. Even if you aren’t a dark chocolate lover (or perhaps you’re even a loather) you will be surprised by this drink’s robust flavor.
The small M. piperita plant is available at most garden stores, particularly in the late spring and early summer months. It will live happily in a small pot on a sunny windowsill or porch with regular waterings.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step One – Prepare the Syrup
This procedure is similar to (but just a bit simpler than) preparing the tangy flavored syrup for our rhubarb mojitos.
Combine the sugar, water, and cocoa powder in a small saucepot on medium-high heat.
You want to stir this continuously while it is cooking – particularly before the sugar is fully dissolved, and after it comes to a simmer.
Otherwise the bubbles will rise quickly, overflowing your pot and burning the bottom of the syrup. And burned syrup on a pot or stovetop is truly a pain to clean (not to mention terribly unappetizing)!
Once the syrup has begun to thicken, after about 3 minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool. After about 15 minutes, you can transfer it to a glass jar and chill it the rest of the way in the refrigerator. This will take about half an hour.
The syrup will hold nicely in the fridge for several weeks, so you can make it in advance if necessary.
This would also work nicely atop homemade ice cream or stirred into a glass of milk, should those who are underage want to try it out!
Juice makes a tasty addition to homemade cocktails as well, like our fresh tomatillo mojito.
Step Two – Muddle Mint & Lime for Your Cocktail
Muddle the mint leaves and lime juice in the bottom of a glass. Any shape of cup will do, but the highball is traditional for a mojito.
The muddling process is vital to the drink – as you press the leaves, they release essential oils that provide the bulk of the flavor (check out our post on cooking with essential oils for more about these). As you crush them, you will smell the scent becoming stronger.
Step Three – Add Cocoa Syrup, Rum & Ice
Add your syrup and rum to the glass.
Feel free to adjust the ratios to suit your preferences. Like a strong drink? Up the rum content! Not a fan of drinks that are too sweet? Hold back on the syrup.
Give the ingredients a quick stir, then add in your ice.
If you’re worried about your drink becoming watered down before you can finish it in the hot weather, check out our old school mojito with mint-lime ice cubes.
Step Four – Add Soda & Garnish
Top with a splash of club soda – again, this can be adjusted to your preference. If you prefer a weaker drink, extra soda is the way to go.
Finish with a sprig of mint – it not only looks cool, the extra scent adds to the flavor as you drink as well.
Chocolate need not be heavy or creamy to be delicious. And pairing cocoa with lime can be unbelievably refreshing.
Head on out to your nearest garden store and pick up a beautiful chocolate mint plant, and you’re on your way to a whole new level of mentha bliss!
Tell us about your favorite ways to use your M. piperita plant in the comments.
Got the mojito bug, now that you’ve started experimenting? Check out our round up of recipes from some of our favorite bloggers.
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.