Here are all the best fresh mint cocktails to try! This herb adds the best flavor to classics like the Mojito, Julep, Southside, and more.
Got a load of fresh mint? Let’s make cocktails! Mint is hands down the most popular herb to use in cocktails because it adds a unique freshness to every sip. There are two ways to add mint to cocktails. You can muddle it in a cocktail shaker before mixing the drink (the standard method). Or, you can use a homemade mint simple syrup. Either way, the flavor adds a huge pop of herbaceous freshness!
Here are all the best mint cocktails to make using this beautiful herb! There are famous classics like the Mojito and Julep, and lesser known but equally as delicious Southside and Whiskey Smash. Editorial note: the herbaceous undertones make these are some of our favorite cocktails out there (and that’s saying something, with hundreds to choose from).
Here's the most classic of all mint cocktails: the Mojito! This iconic Cuban drink is one of the greats. Here’s a recipe for it that’s spot on perfection: not too sweet, bubbly, and minty fresh. Like the margarita, the true version has less sugar and more nuance than what it’s become in bars and pre-made mixes. It’s perfect for sipping on the patio, but then again just as good in the dead of winter when you’re dreaming of the beach.
Ingredients: Mint, lime juice, simple syrup, white rum, soda water
Here’s a mint cocktail that’s best known for the Kentucky Derby: but you can drink it any time of the year! Meet the Mint Julep. You don’t have to reserve it for special occasions: this bourbon cocktail is icy and refreshing, perfect for sipping anytime. It might sound like a sweet drink, but the Mint Julep is dry and bourbon-forward. If you’re not a big fan of whiskey, you’d be better off sipping a whiskey smash instead. But bourbon lovers: this is your drink!
It’s minty, it’s bubbly, it’s refreshing: meet the Gin Gin Mule! You might think this mint cocktail is a just liquor swap in a mule, but it's more than meets the eye! Considered a modern classic cocktail, it’s a mashup of the Moscow mule and minty Mojito. You’ve got the bubbly ginger beer and lime of a mule, balanced by the muddled mint and sweetness of a mojito. It results in a much more balanced drink than it’s classic counterpart.
This mint cocktail is sweet tart and stunning: the Southside! The best way to describe it? A Mojito with gin! It’s minty, fresh, and botanical, made with lemon, lime, and gin. It’s sweetened just enough: crisp, cool and refreshing. It’s perfect for sipping on a cocktail night with friends, or an afternoon cocktail on the patio.
Here's a mint cocktail that’s classy and refreshing: the whiskey smash! Contrary to most whiskey drinks, this one is tangy and light, not heavy and boozy. It’s a citrus sweet spin on the classic Mint Julep, featuring lemon and mint. It’s perfect for entertaining or evening cocktails on the patio.
Ingredients: Mint, whiskey, lemon, simple syrup, soda water
Want a Mojito topped off with champagne? (Yes, please.) Enter the Old Cuban cocktail: one part Mojito, one part French 75. This mashup cocktail is a modern classic created by a famous bartender in the early 2000’s. It’s minty fresh, with complexity from the bitters and vanilla and coconut notes from the aged rum. Combine it with a splash of bubbles, and it’s a cocktail masterpiece!
Here's a mint cocktail that changes up a classic using mint syrup: the Mint Gimlet! A gimlet is a classic cocktail from the 1930's made of lime juice, gin and simple syrup. Changing the syrup to mint syrup infuses an herbaceous freshness into the drink that makes it hard to put down! Head to the recipe and use mint simple syrup instead of simple syrup.
Here’s a mint cocktail that’s full of big fruity flavor: the Watermelon martini! This vodka martini is all about summer, with a pure, refreshing flavor. It’s just sweet enough to let the fruit shine through, and it goes down pretty easy. Add that watermelon wedge garnish and it’s a great signature drink for a dinner party, or ideal for sipping by the pool.
One of the most refreshing mint cocktails out there: a Southside Fizz! Cousin of the Southside (above), this gin cocktail features bright citrus, herbaceous mint, and fizzy soda water. It’s tart and fizzy, perfect for drinks on the patio, a daytime brunch drink, or a wintertime cocktail when you’re dreaming of summer. The best way to describe it? A Tom Collins + a Mojito!
Ingredients: Mint, gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, soda water
Last up in our mint cocktails: another smash! But this time, it's with berries. This vodka smash is all about smashed fruit and ice! It’s tangy and refreshing, featuring muddled blackberries, mint, and lime. It’s tangy, it’s sweet, and it’s got a bit of back-end vodka flavor. And it goes down easy.
Ingredients: Lime, fresh mint, blackberries or raspberries, vodka, simple syrup, soda water
Last up: another classic turned into a mint cocktail: the Tom Collins! This tall highball drink is a essentially gin sour, a sweet and sour drink made with gin. Make it with mint simple syrup and it's got a fresh vibe that brings new life to this standard mixed drink.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, mint simple syrup, soda water
The right way to muddle mint
Many of the mint cocktails above require muddling the mint before making the drink. Muddling means gently mashing the herb to release its juices. This helps the flavors incorporate better into the drink. There are a few tips to the right way to muddle mint:
Step 1: Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. (If you don’t have one, you can use a large metal cup or bowl.)
Step 2: Using a wooden cocktail muddler or unfinished wooden spoon, gently mash the mint a few times to release the juices. The key to muddling is a light touch, so don’t go overboard. That’s it! Then mix up your cocktail and enjoy.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.