Pioneer Homemade Christmas Day 2- How to Make Non-Alcohol Mint Extract

Is there any combination better suited than mint and chocolate? I couldn’t think of one either!

I wanted to make mint extract, but almost everything I could find involved alcohol. Which is fine for baking because the alcohol content bakes out, but I wanted to be able to serve my kids homemade mint hot chocolate. So, I came across this recipe and couldn’t wait to share it with you! 

I had mint leaves from my herb garden and harvested them fresh. Take equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. I did 1/2 cup of each and pour in a Mason jar. If using fresh leaves, rinse and pat dry your leaves. Crush and bruise (this step is important) a 1/2 cup of fresh leaves and dump in the jar with vinegar and water. Put on lid and band and then shake vigorously. Make sure all the leaves are covered in the liquid. If using dried leaves, just a 1/4 cup.

Mint Extract

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves or 1/4 cup dried
1 to 2 tablespoons honey


Put in a dark cool place. I used the shelf in the snack cupboard. Shake the jar every day to help the mint seep into the liquid. Check the strength at two weeks. You can keep it seeping up to six weeks.

When you’re ready, take a canning funnel and a coffee filter. Place it over a clean Mason jar and pour mint leaves and extract through the filter. (Hold filter in place or tape it before hand) Squeeze leaves to get the last of the extract from them.

If you’d like to make the extract a bit sweeter, you can put jar (Without lid and band) in the microwave and add 1 tablespoon honey. Heat then stir until completely dissolved. If you don’t like the microwave, the stove top and a pot work fine, too. Use in all your baked goods as you would vanilla.

We can’t have just mint extract, we need homemade hot chocolate mix, too!

I combined some online versions for:

The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix!

3 cups non-fat dried instant milk powder

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well blended. Spoon into Mason jars or glass container. Use 3 tablespoons to 1 cup hot water or milk. Add 1 teaspoon mint extract (or to taste) to hot chocolate. Optional- top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.

I plan on having a hot chocolate bar on Christmas morning. Complete with sprinkles, cinnamon, nutmeg, and whatever else I can come up with in the next 49 days!

What’s your favorite holiday beverage? Do you make homemade gifts for Christmas?

Day 1-Pioneer Homemade Christmas-How to make Applesauce without ever touching a knife and Pumpkin Applesauce Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

This post is featured on The Barn Hop and The Better Mom.

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  1. Rose says

    This is a great idea! I haven’t made extracts because I don’t have vodka and have never been to a liquor store and kind of embarrassed to go. I can’t wait to try this with vinegar. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      You’re so welcome, Rose. I feel the same way. I don’t keep vodka on hand and didn’t want to have to buy a bottle just for extract. Plus, I wanted to drink it in my hot chocolate and coffee before work. :)

  2. Jane says

    HI Melissa,

    I actually followed your recipe and I’m only on day 2 of the waiting part. I’m just curious about how the mixture would taste after 6 weeks. Would you still be able to taste the vinegar? I’d like to use the extract on a mint frosting but i’m worried about the vinegar.

    • says

      Hi, Jane,

      You’ll have to see how strong the mint flavor is by six weeks, but it should be pretty good by then. The sugar in the frosting should cancel out the vinegar flavor. I’ve got a recipe for raspberry syrup that uses raspberry, vinegar, and sugar, so it should taste fine. I’d love to hear how it turns out when it’s finished and you make the frosting. My bottle got spilled, so I’m waiting on my mint to have enough leaves to make a new batch. :)

      • Sue says

        Would you post your raspberry syrup recipe? I have lots and lots of raspberries and am always looking for new ideas.
        Tomorrow I am going to try the extract recipe.

  3. amina alvi says

    i m really excited to bake my own mint chocolate cake and make my own mint ice cream… i m also on 2nd day of my waiting.. i had a good batch of mint leaves growing in my backyard.. but didnt have any alcohol free mint extract
    recipe.. thanks a lot for sharing this recipe.. now i m planing to make other extracts too. :) :)

    • says

      Mine kept for 3 months until it got knocked over and spilled everywhere. My kitchen smelled great, but I was disappointed. I think if you stored it in the fridge, it would keep for up to a year.

  4. Katey says

    I just made myself a couple of jars of this bc I wanted to try one with and one without the honey. However, I’m unclear as to when I’m supposed to add the honey. At the end, after steeping for 2-6 weeks and straining the leaves? Or should the honey be in the jar with the mint leaves WHILE it steels for 2-6 weeks? Thanks for posting these recipes btw!

  5. says

    This is very interesting, as I did not know you could make an extract with vinegar. Although, I personally don’t worry about using an alcohol extract in a drink, even for kids, because it is such a small amount of alcohol. Great idea though, and one I will keep in mind. Thx for sharing on Homesteaders Hop!

  6. Dana says

    I made the extract over the summer and am excited to have some and to also give to friends. Thanks so much for your recipe. I used some today in some cocoa I made with whole milk, and the milk curdled just a little bit, I’m guessing from the vinegar (?) I make substitute buttermilk using milk and vinegar so I guess this shouldn’t be so surprising. Has this happened to you using your homemade hot cocoa mix? I’m wondering if I used powdered milk instead of fresh whole milk if that would prevent or at least minimize the reaction.

    • says


      I used in coffee, with just a dash of cream and milk, so it didn’t curdle. I never thought of the vinegar making it buttermilk. I have used it in the homemade hot cocoa mix (powdered milk) and it didn’t curdle that, so it must just be the regular milk. Shucks on that part, but it should work great in the other options.

        • Dana says

          As a quick update on this, I hadn’t added the honey to the extract when I originally made it, so I’m wondering if the sugar in the honey would have helped to prevent the curdling. I’m not sure if sugar actually reduces acid or simply counters the taste so I thought I’d test it out by adding some agave to the extract. I just added it to some milk and didn’t see the curdling reaction.

  7. kristina says

    I had found different sites telling me how to make extracts with vinegar and I used white not apple cider and I wanted to do cherry and banana to add to ice tea and such so I did that and it has been seeping in a mason jar for about three weeks now. All I did was mash up bananas to fill the jar almost half full and then filled with vinegar but I tried it and it has a fruity taste but a very strong vinegar taste could this be because I didn’t add water? could I do that now and let it steep for another three weeks? thanks

    • says

      I have never done bananas. You could try adding some honey to help cut the vinegar taste. I don’t know if I would dilute it with water beings it’s fruit. The full strength vinegar will help kill any bacteria that might grow.

  8. says

    For recipes like this (and homemade ice cream as well), I generally just steep some mint leaves in the milk and/or cream for about 10 minutes at about 170F. The imparted flavor is very fresh and strong, particularly with a small amount of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Very effective with no additional ingredients, and it can be done minutes ahead of time while in season (I have fresh mint almost year round here in NC). I’ll be putting the cocoa mix to good use though, thanks for posting!

  9. Jill says

    I tried this extract. I thought it was terrible. The vinegar taste was so dominant that I don’t know how adding it to chocolate could possibly be tasty! I would like to know if all the other women that had it steeping for three weeks found it successful? If so what did they do to make it so?

    • says


      Sorry you didn’t like it. Did you add honey? The sweetness of the honey cut the vinegar taste for me. You can use alcohol if you found the vinegar too strong.


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