10 Things You May Not Know About Mint
April 8, 2014
The Cider Makers here at Woodchuck are at it again. Their innovative craft and masterful techniques have brought us the next style in our Cellar Series line. We’re excited to announce the Woodchuck Cellar Series Mint Cider!
Woodchuck Cellar Series Mint is handcrafted from fresh Vermont McIntosh and Irish bittersweet apples. The blend of varieties allows a full apple flavor to remain at the forefront of this unique cider. The twist turns up in the form of mint. Whole spearmint leaves are added to the tank a week before bottling. Spearmint oils slowly permeate the tank, leaving a subtle mint note to this unique marriage of apples from Vermont and Ireland.
As we add another exciting style to the Woodchuck family, we thought we would take a closer look at the mint leaf. The organic mint leaves we used in this craft cider were sourced through our friends at Black River Produce here in Vermont. Let’s take a dive into this awesome ingredient, with a list of 10 things you may not know about Mint.
1. Mint was tied to the Greek and Romans.
Mint plants originated in the Mediterranean region. It was spread spread by the Roman Empire. A Greek myth tells of an elderly couple taking the time to wipe down their table with mint leaves before serving a meal to traveling strangers; when the strangers revealed themselves as the gods Zeus and Hermes, the couple was richly rewarded. Don’t you wish the same kind of hospitality made you rich today? Sharing cider with friends will make you a popular host. That’s good enough, right?
2. Mint is a welcoming herb.
Aside from being associated with hospitality, mint was often strewn on floors to combat odor and pests.
3. Don’t tread on “Minthe”.
The scientific name for mint is “Mentha spicata” and the type of plant is a Perennial herb. The generic name Mentha is derived from the story of the ancient Greek nymph Minthe, and her love affair with Hades, God of the Underworld. Hades’ wife Persephone grew jealous of their love, and transformed Minthe into a common garden plant, so the world would forever walk all over her. Unable to bring back Minthe from Persephone’s curse, Hades gave the plant a pleasant aroma so he could enjoy her fragrance with each garden breeze.
4. Mint and mummies.
Mint has been found in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 1000 BC. Don’t worry, the mint we used in the cider is super fresh!
5. Does mint help you keep your cool?
The Romans believed eating mint would increase intelligence. The scent of mint was also supposed to stop a person from losing his temper, and royal ambassadors carried mint sprigs in their pockets.
6. Washington State: Great for Granny Smith apples AND mint.
The US produces 70% of the World’s peppermint and spearmint. The top spearmint-producing state is Washington with more than 1 million pounds, followed by Oregon, Indiana, Idaho and Michigan to round out the top 5. In 2013, the United States harvested 24,500 acres of spearmint*. That’s a whole lotta mint!
7. Good herb? Try, great herb!
In Mexico, Mint is known as yerba buena, the “good herb.”
8. Get ready, internet…cats love mint too.
Are you ready for another reason to bond with your cat? Catnip is part of the Mint family! Who would have thought?
9. What’s cooler than being cool?
The menthol contained in mint leaves plays tricks on the tongue making it feel like it came into contact with something cold. American Southerners popularized the practice of adding a sprig to iced tea or a mint julep to increase the refreshment quality of a cold drink. Cellar Series Mint is best served cold. When you add in some mint to the recipe it may feel even colder. As they say… what’s cooler than being cool? ICE COLD!
10. Mint and fruit have been paired since ancient times!
There are over 30 varieties of Mint and ancient Greeks and Romans were known to use it to flavor their cordials and fruit. I guess you could say we took a play from history’s playbook for this latest recipe from the Woodchuck Cellar.