Peppermint Becomes Ubiquitous Flavor of the Season

Move over, pumpkin spice. It’s time for peppermint to shine.

‘Tis the season to deck the halls and sprinkle a little peppermint in every item possible. The popular winter flavor is gaining momentum within the food industry. According to a recent article by Restaurant Business, almost 8% of restaurants have peppermint on their menus and talk about the flavor has increased over 20% since last year.

“We’ve seen several key café and restaurant customers pick up this seasonal favorite for the first time in 2023,” Brian Loukmas, VP of innovation at Monin Americas, told Restaurant Business.

“Peppermint is projected to gain greater visibility … on menus through 2027, as it easily adds a minty, festive, and delicious element to winter beverage and culinary recipes.”

“In this post-covid era, consumers are seeking to enjoy a little more holiday spirit with friends and family, and peppermint has the nostalgic flavor cue that guests seek,” Erin Buono, director of R&D at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, told The Food Institute.

Additionally, Gen Z is seeking out non-traditional combinations and peppermint delivers on high impact flavor that younger guests crave, Buono noted.

One of the most popular ways to incorporate peppermint is to add it to beverages. The following restaurants currently offer these peppermint options as drinks:

  • Dutch Bros: The Candy Cane Trio and a Zero Sugar Added Peppermint Bark Mocha.
  • Tim Hortons: Peppermint Iced Cap
  • Caribou Coffee: Ho Ho Mint Mocha Espresso Shaker
  • Dunkin: Peppermint Mocha Signature Latte
  • Starbucks: Peppermint Mocha
  • Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii: Peppermint Beach Bliss Latte and a Peppermint Hot Chocolate

It’s not just beverage chains, either. Fast-food giants Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A are also hopping on the peppermint bandwagon with LTOs.

  • Wendy’s: Peppermint Frosty
  • Chick-fil-A: Peppermint Chip Milkshake and two new coffees: Peppermint Bark Iced Coffee and Frosted Peppermint Chip Coffee

In the ice cream category, Haagen-Dazs has you covered with its Peppermint Bark dessert lineup.

Spicing Up Alcohol with Peppermint

Bars are also capitalizing on the holiday spirit. Peppermint usage has grown exponentially with the modern cocktail resurgence.

“As an ingredient that’s fresh, aromatic, and familiar to most pallets, (peppermint’s) utilization is universal during the right seasons,” Jacob Satterlee,  beverage manager at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana, told The Food Institute. “Creme de Menthe, Fernet-Menthe, Peppermint Schnapps, and the higher-end products like Goldschlager and Rumple Minze have made themselves staples on most bars’ shelves.”

Satterlee noted that the beverages the resort uses that feature peppermint are both hot and cold and tend to be chocolate or tea-based.

“In addition to the liquid peppermint options, using candy canes as garnishes or even grinding them into a coarse product for rimming drinks is also a wonderful application to introduce peppermint to a cocktail,” Satterlee added.