Mint Cup

Mint Cup.jpg

You'll find this recipe in:
The Joy of Cooking
By: Irma S. Rombauer
Toronto, 1945
(I think my copy is a Canadian reprint of the 1943 American edition)

The Original Recipe:

About 2 quarts

Remove the tips and the leaves from:
     4 sprigs of mint
Add to them:
     2 cups sugar
     2 cups water

Boil these ingredients for 5 minutes.
Strain the sirup. Add:
     2 cups lemon juice
     1⁄4 teaspoon salt
     A little green food coloring

Chill these ingredients well. Immediately before serving add:
     1 quart chilled ginger ale

My Two Cents:

  • "4 sprigs of mint" seemed like an arbitrary measurement, so I just went with using all the mint that I had in my fridge, which amounted to about 3/4 of a cup. It made a very minty sweet syrup, so I think this is a good approximate amount of mint to use for this recipe.

  • I found that adding 2 cups of lemon juice almost eradicated the minty taste, though. Next time, I'll probably choose to add the mint syrup, lemon juice & ginger ale to taste.

  • Steve thinks Mint Cup tastes like a Whisky Sour, so if you enjoy the flavour of that beverage, give this mocktail recipe a try with the full amount of lemon juice!

  • I added 5 drops of green food colouring to the mint syrup & lemon juice concoction

  • I was serving Mint Cup by glass, not by punch bowl, so I kept the ginger ale separate so it didn't go flat. With the full amount of lemon juice, the ratio of mint syrup & lemon juice to ginger ale is about 50/50.


Irma S. Rombauer, the author of The Joy of Cooking, was a homemaker who lived in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1930, her husband Edgar committed suicide and the cookbook was conceived in the following year out of grief and the need to make a living. Rombauer funded the printing of 3000 copies of The Joy of Cooking in 1931 and she sold copies out of her apartment for the following few years. A.C. Clayton, the company who printed the first edition, mostly printed labels and had never printed a book before The Joy of Cooking.

Rombauer continued to do revisions and searched for a publisher for the second edition, which was published in 1936 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, which was moderately successful. It wasn't until the 1943 edition was published that The Joy of Cooking met with the blockbuster success that we associate with the book today.

My copy of The Joy of Cooking is a 1945 Canadian reprinting of the 1943 edition, and this edition was edited to reflect the realities of wartime rationing. It includes suggestions for butter substitutes and chapters filled with sugarless & sugar-saving baking and meatless & meat-stretching recipes.

In her introduction, Irma S. Rombauer writes "When the revision of this book was begun a year ago we had no intimation that international obligations would lead our land of plenty to ration cards. It now goes to print with a number of emergency chapters added, written to meet the difficulties that beset the present-day cook."

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If you'd like to read more about Joy of Cooking, this cookbook has an excellent website:

I've also read a couple of interesting articles about Joy of Cooking in the last little while. The article on Bon Appetit weaves a story about The Obsessive Sport of Shopping for a Vintage Joy of Cooking. Apparently, the 1962 edition is sought after because it features pictorial instructions for how to skin a squirrel. I'll be keeping my eye out for it from now on! (edited later to add: I've been told that the squirrel skinning illustrations are also in the 1975 edition)

The Strange, Uplifting Tale of "Joy of Cooking" Versus the Food Scientist from The New Yorker:
A 2009 study called "The Joy of Eating Too Much" claimed that the recipes' caloric content increased with new editions, implying the cookbook's popularity had a part in the obesity epidemic. This article tells the tale of how this study has been debunked.

Read the Cookbook: