Sweet Simplicity: It's Time for Perrier Menthe

  The first time I had a Perrier menthe was the day we arrived in Lourmarin in Provence. The couple from which we rented our townhouse took us on a tour of the town to show us where to buy bread, the restaurants they liked, where the grocery store was, the bank, etc.

The way Lourmarin is laid out makes it easy to do a loop around the town on the main roads and end up back at a little square where a few cafés meet. It is the perfect spot for people-watching.

It was late August and wonderfully hot outside--at least to me. Our hosts chose a café owned by one of their friends and suggested we have Perrier menthes. Mint syrup and Perrier. That's it. I had never heard of it before, but they assured us it was delicious.

The drinks arrived in tall glasses with long spoons, dark green mint syrup at the bottom, and a bottle of Perrier on the side. I poured my water into the glass, gave it a stir, and took a sip of the bright green liquid.

It was delicious. Cool, refreshing, sparkling, and slightly sweet. The mint was just prevalent enough give me a nice cooling sensation on my lips and tongue.

Since that day, I haven't been able to get enough Perrier menthes. Even my dad, who hates mint, really likes these. They are perfect for summer and a little different from the usual.

Lately, as the heat rises and the days get longer, I find myself craving them. Although I can't be in Provence right now (despite some really good attempts at teleportation), I can bring a bit of Provence to me by making these.

Here's what you need:

  • Perrier (or your favorite sparkling mineral water)
  • Mint/menthe verte syrup. I'm using Chateau Thierry crème de menthe syrup right now. Teisseire is a popular brand in France but I haven't found it here yet. I love the green color, but I'm sure you could use a clear syrup or make your own if you want to be different.
  • A pretty glass
  • Ice (optional/if you are one of those ridiculous North Americans who must have ice)

I like ice and my Perrier was fresh off the store shelf and hot. So, ice it was.

The general recommendations are 1 oz of syrup to 7-9 oz of Perrier. Just play with the ratios until you find what tastes good to you. I tend to like mine a little less sweet, so I'm probably closer to the 1:9 ratio.

Pour the syrup first, add the water, give it a little stir. Easy peasy.

Optional: Put on a white linen shirt and some khakis or a white linen dress, top your head with a Panama hat of some kind, and sip slowly while pretending you are at a café.

Enjoy! I highly recommend you repeat this until you are sufficiently refreshed and/or you feel like switching over to pastis or a cold, dry rose.


  • Menthe à l'eau - using still water instead of Perrier. I'm also sure club soda would be fine if you prefer it.
  • Diabolo menthe - mint syrup and lemonade or 7Up/Sprite. I haven't tried this yet but I've seen both lemonade and Sprite/7Up mentioned.
  • Test out another flavor. Mint seemed to be the most popular syrup when I was in Provence but most cafés had lists of other available flavors too.

Homemade Mint Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans

In my Christmas stocking I got a tube of mint chocolate-covered espresso beans. They were so good that I would savor just a couple every day to make them last as long as possible. Well, a couple of weeks ago as I was getting one, the bottom fell out of the tube. I watched helplessly as they all scattered across my floor.

After I stopped shaking my fists at the sky and crying out "nooooooo," the thought of eating them anyway did cross my mind. 3-second rule right? Then, I remembered how much dog and cat hair I vacuum up every week. "But I could rinse them," I thought.

Don't worry, I didn't. I came to my senses and they all went into the trash as I whimpered.

The next day, as I mourned those beans, I realized that I could try to make some. It ended up being a fairly easy experiment. Here's how I did it.

Since this was an experiment, I used whatever chocolate I already had. If you're a chocolate/coffee snob, by all means use whatever you prefer, it will only make them better.

First, I pulled out all the ingredients and tools:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Coffee or espresso beans
  • Mint extract
  • Cocoa Powder (optional)
  • Medium pot
  • Medium metal bowl
  • Heat resistant spatula/wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon or skimmer
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • A fork
  • Mesh strainer/sifter (only if coating them in cocoa powder)
  • Small bowl (only if coating them in cocoa powder)
  • A jar/container to put them in

I was originally going to cover them in chocolate and drizzle them in white chocolate, I but decided against it in the end. My Christmas beans were dipped in both, so if that sounds good to you, go for it.

My measurements this time were:

  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. coffee beans
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract (This wasn't quite enough for me. I'll bump it up next time.)

I began by making a double boiler.  I just filled a pot with a couple of inches of water and put a medium-sized metal bowl on top, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

I then put that on the stove over medium heat and added the chips. I forgot to add the extract at this time which caused the chocolate to seize later. Make sure to add the extract with the chips, but I'll show you how I "fixed" it.

I used a heat-resistant silicone spatula to stir the chocolate constantly as it melted, a wooden spoon would be fine, too.

If you forget to add the extract at the beginning, the chocolate will seize and look like this:

Don't panic and don't add any other liquids. You have two options. Start over or add a bit of fat to bring it back. Adding fat, like butter or shortening, will make it more like a ganache. I chose the latter and added tiny bits of shortening until the chocolate was smooth again. Doing this will change the way it sets up and make the chocolate a bit softer, but it worked out in the end.

After the chocolate was completely melted and smooth, I pulled the double boiler off of the heat. Then, I threw in my 1/2 cup of beans and stirred them around until they were well-covered.

Once all the beans were covered, I pulled them out in groups with the stainless skimmer. They drained for a few seconds over the bowl and then I transferred them one by one to the parchment-covered baking sheet by using a fork to push them off.

Once the beans were all on the parchment-covered baking sheet, I let them set up a bit. If your chocolate didn't seize you can let them harden completely for a couple of hours. At that point you can be done and put them in a jar. Or you can do the process again and coat them in a layer of mint-flavored white chocolate, drizzle them with white chocolate, or even roll them in cocoa like I did.

Since my chocolate was more of a ganache, it was softer and I knew it would not harden into beautiful shiny chocolate. I could have left it to harden as much as it could, but then they would melt quickly in the hand. What I did was wait until it was set-up/substantial enough to handle but still malleable, rolled them into nice bean shapes, and then sifted them in cocoa powder.

Once they were all hand-rolled, to coat them in a fine dusting of cocoa powder, I put groups of them into a sifter, added cocoa powder and then sifted the excess out into a cereal bowl.

That's all there is to it! To finish up, I put mine into a small mason jar. Now I can enjoy them without worrying that the bottom will fall out. The great thing about making your own is that they're pretty easy and you control the ingredients. Use your favorite chocolate, favorite beans, and experiment with flavors. After making these, inspiration hit and  I now want to try making caramel covered coffee beans.