Of the dozen or so country wines we’ve attempted, mint wine has so far been the winner overall. It’s easy to make from start to finish, with no fruit to pit or grate; straining is a piece of cake; and the flavor is superb. Perhaps due to the large proportion of apple mint I used among other varieties, the wine smells and tastes very much like our apple wine.
Best of all, mint grows abundantly year-round with virtually zero maintenance, which of course can make it a real pest. For anyone plagued with an overabundance, this is an ideal use.
If you like, adjust the quantities of the recipe to suit the size of carboy you will use, but add only one yeast packet nevertheless.
1 Lb clean mint leaves (about 2-1/2 quarts, tightly packed)
3.5 gallons water
10 Lbs sugar
1 packet wine yeast
Place the mint leaves in a large stainless steel pot or fermentation tub, at least 20-quart size. Boil the water and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Pour the sugar-water over the mint. (Alternatively if you have only one large pot, boil the water, dissolve the sugar, and simply stir in the mint, continually pressing it below the surface until well saturated.)
Steep and let cool for several hours or overnight, preferably reaching a temperature of about 75 degrees. If desired, take a hydrometer reading so that you can later determine the alcohol content.
Scoop about 3/4 to 1 cup of the mint ‘tea’ into a glass or measuring cup. Add the yeast to this and agitate to submerge the yeast in the water. Leave it in a warm part of the kitchen for 15 to 20 minutes while it activates.
Add the yeast and liquid back into the pot with the mint. Stir well to aerate and spread the yeast. Then cover the pot or tub with a clean cloth or a lid that’s not sealed tight. Place it in a safe place where it won’t get too cold.
Twice each day, using a clean (sterilized) slotted spoon or whisk, vigorously stir the solution. Do this for five to ten days, or until the rapid primary fermentation dies down.
Strain and siphon or funnel into a carboy and top with an airlock.
Keep a regular eye on the airlock to make sure the water level maintains the seal, adding more if too much evaporates. After two months, rack into another carboy. Then after three more months, rack again. When the wine is nice and clear, bottle.
The wine may be drunk right away, although some say it is best aged for a year. I doubt this ours will make it that long– I’m thinking chilled on a hot summer afternoon. That almost makes me excited for warm weather!