The first time I saw someone spank it- the mint- I was taking a Bar Smarts course and watching a video demonstration for the proper technique for making a mojito. Maybe it struck me so hilarious because I was "studying" for this course while "practicing" making cocktails and tasting them to make they were tasty. When I watched the demonstration for spanking the mint my own tasty mojito shot out of my nose as I guffawed burning the hell out of the lining of my nostrils and causing my eyes to stream tears.
I didn't think too much of the mint spanking issue until the first annual Killer Tomato Fest. Festivals like this are the mecca for cocktail geeks. The rules of competition for this particular festival stated that the cocktails and food had to be made with tomato thus the "Killer Tomato" moniker. I was working the upstairs bar at JCT kitchen. The bar has panoramic windows that let me see all of the vendors and booths in the courtyard. The mixologist directly outside the the JCT bar is well known in Atlanta for his creative cocktail menus and is quite talented. He is also a cocktail geek which often means sporting odd outfits etc. This day he was wearing very tight shorts and an incredibly small mechanic's shirt. My view of him from the inside was of his back and his very tiny bum. Along with tomato his cocktail, of course, contained mint. I will never forget the look of him spanking that mint. He would shift his weight to one foot, hold out his left hand and lovingly place the mint leaves in his palm, clench his tiny butt and slam his open right hand into his left spanking the mint! I must have watched him spank his mint at least a hundred times that day. The first time I almost peed my pants. By the end of the day I was almost ready to join the mint spanking revolution.
The reason behind spanking mint is to release the essential oils in the mint so that you maximize the flavor and smell of the refreshing herb. I have never seen a difference between spanking and crushing for essential oil release. The only difference I have ever been able to see is the hilarity factor. I often choose to spank it because it amuses me.
I am also amused by seeing other people spanking it. I have a new trainee in my bar. She is an adorable blonde with a bubbly sense of humor. Last weekend I was teaching her to make an agave mint syrup for one of my cocktails. She spanked the hell out of that mint for 15 minutes. She made my week! I can't wait to make mojitos for this weekend's wedding. I wonder how many of my employees I can convince to spank it?