I hate mint. I used to buy strawberry toothpaste until my boyfriend got sick of that. I only liked the cinnamon mouth wash, and something called “sweet mint” was pretty good, but I should not have mentioned that I liked the bubblegum-flavored mouthwash, which was probably for kids.
We recently went hiking through the woods, and my boyfriend has experience as a camp counselor, which means he feels compelled to pull berries off random shrubs and just plop them in his mouth, saying something like, “I think this is gooseberry,” while I have a panic attack, flipping through the book I got about foraging edible plants in the woods — because that’s how we will survive when society collapses.
To his credit, he hasn’t gotten sick yet, so maybe I should trust him a little more. That being said, he tries everything first.
During this last hike, we went foraging for cocktail ingredients. We found a grove that had five different berry-bearing plants in it. Unfortunately, only a few partridge berries were left this late in the season.
“We can use winter mint leaves,” he said. “These are teaberry and have a flavor like a sweet and subtle mint,” so maybe I would like it. We ended up harvesting a ton of these deep green, shiny, crisp leaves, enough to stuff into a quart of vodka, then added a diabetic-shock-inducing amount of sugar to produce what I consider a tastier, high-end, artisan version of Dr. McGillicuddy’s peppermint schnapps. The Maine forest is literally littered with these sweet, minty ingredients, so get foraging!
Foraged Teaberry Cordial
- 1 cup roughly chopped teaberry leaves
- 1 quart of 100-proof vodka
- 2 cups simple syrup (1 cup water to 1 cup sugar)
Roughly chop the teaberry leaves and combine 1 cup with a quart of vodka in a large Mason jar. Let the mixture sit for three days, at most, occasionally shaking or staring at it. Next, stir 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of water over medium-low heat. Dissolve the sugar completely and let cool. When the simple syrup has cooled, pour into the teaberry vodka. Congratulations, you just made a Foraged Teaberry Cordial!