Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps Brings Fresh Flavor to Cocktails
Holiday Fun in a Bottle Makes Great Colorado Gift
By Katie Coakley
There are certain flavors that are almost visceral in the way they conjure memories. Whether it’s the first lick of a candy cane as a child or the sweet memories of mojitos as an adult, mint holds a special place for our taste buds. Colorado Springs-based Lee Spirits Company has bottled one of the purest iterations of this flavor with its Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps, perfect for mixing in cocktails or simply sipping straight.
Lee Spirits Company has been making the schnapps to serve in its pre-Prohibition style cocktail lounge, Brooklyn’s on Boulder St., explained Ian Lee, co-founder of Lee Spirits Company.
“Fundamentally, our goal is to help bartenders make the best cocktails they can,” Lee said. For Lee, this means creating the liqueurs and mixers that go along with crafting cocktails — currently about 60 in total. However, the company only distributes 10 different types of gin and liqueurs.
A lower-proof version of the peppermint schnapps received rave reviews from guests and clients in the tasting room. Mostly used as a mixer in cocktails, one imbiber said that it was the cleanest, most natural crisp mint he’d ever tasted in drink, Lee said. That sort of response made Lee think that perhaps it was a product that could not only be used in drinks, but enjoyed on its own, too.
The recently released Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is a 90-proof spirit made from natural mint (much of it sourced from Colorado), distilled Rocky Mountain water, sugar cane and Lee Spirits’ distillate. It’s also one of the only craft peppermint schnapps in the country, Lee said.
“Our distillation technique is akin to how they made it back in the 1900s (before Prohibition),” Lee explained. “We make schnapps the same way they did back then. You have to start with real mint leaves, real purified water, a high-quality distillate … to get the final product. It’s only four ingredients, but there are a million ways to combine four ingredients.”
The resulting schnapps is smooth and crisp with an almost silky mouthfeel. The mint is incredibly clean, evoking an involuntary inhale on the first sip. When the breath is released, one might expect to see frost gather. It’s both warming and refreshing and left a much, much better impression than the Rumple Minze of many people have tasted.
“There’s a significant difference between quality mint and mint that tastes like toothpaste,” Lee said. “We know what fake tastes like and (with this) you know that it’s really good mint.”
Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is available for purchase at liquor stores around Colorado. For more information, visit leespirits.com.
Here’s a quick, delicious recipe: Rosa Fredda
1.5 oz creme de rose
.75 oz dry gin
.25 oz peppermint schnapps
.5oz lime juice
Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with rose petals.