TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes plus marinating
MAKES: 1 liter
3 cups loosely packed mint leaves
Scant 1/2 cup thyme leaves from 1 bunch fresh thyme
2 1/2 cups vodka
2 cups sugar
4 to 6 drops green food coloring (optional)
Gently wash 2 cups mint leaves, then spin or gently pat dry. Tear leaves in half.
Combine mint and thyme in a heat-proof 1-quart jar. In a small saucepan, bring vodka just to a boil. Pour hot vodka over herbs. Seal jar, let liquid cool completely, then store in a cool, dark place for at least 4 days or up to 1 week.
Gently wash remaining mint leaves, then spin or gently pat dry.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups water and sugar; bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Gently simmer, whisking occasionally, 6 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in remaining 1 cup mint. Let cool completely, about 1 hour, then strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar, pressing on mint to extract excess syrup.
Strain vodka mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on herbs to extract excess liquid; whisk in 2 cups mint syrup. Adjust syrup to taste, adding more for a sweeter liqueur, if desired. Add 4 to 6 drops green food coloring (optional) if brilliant color is desired.
Enjoy liqueur immediately or keep in a cool dark place, sealed, for up to 1 year. (Keep any leftover mint simple syrup covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month. Enjoy over berries, or in cocktails or blended fruit drinks).
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