Our favorite buttery, salty mint ice cream with white chocolate chunks has been around since Jeni’s first menu. It’s one of few flavors whose recipe has barely changed since the start. Here, we share five things you might not know about this perennial favorite, from its inspiration to how it gets such deep buttery flavor.
1. It was created as an anti-mint chocolate chip.
Jeni has never been a fan of mint ice creams. But when she opened her first ice cream stand in 2002, she knew she had to offer something to the mint-loving crowd. Her challenge: Could she create a mint ice cream that she could love? Savannah Buttermint was Jeni’s answer. “It’s the opposite of a mint chocolate chip,” Jeni says. “It’s this salty, white mint chocolate chip. So it’s familiar to the palate with little crunchy bits in it.” For nearly 20 years, Jeni resisted creating the classic green mint and chocolate flavor. That is, until we released Green Mint Chip with our current American Licks collection.
2. It’s reminiscent of butter mint candies.
You know the ones—those chewy, pastel peppermint candies commonly served at restaurants decades ago. “My grandmother used to get those butter mints all the time,” Jeni recalls. “The crazy thing is they are actually salty. Even now, nobody else does that. We add a little sea salt to up the richness.”
3. It’s made with butter flavor.
Savannah Buttermint’s butteriness hails from an all-natural butter flavoring—one of the few we stock in our kitchen. “It’s all natural, it’s derived from butter, but it smells like too much butter,” Jeni says. “But if you use just a little of it, it’s really awesome in all kinds of things.”
4. We’ve barely tweaked the recipe since the beginning. But the technique has changed.
Our ice cream recipe hasn’t changed much since the beginning, but the technique has. We used to pour melted white chocolate directly into the peppermint cream, turning the stream of melted chocolate with a whisk. This stracciatelle technique would produce little shards of white chocolate throughout the ice cream. The problem? The white chocolate bits were too small, practically dissolving into the ice cream. Now we turn creamy white chocolate chunks into ice cream after it’s frozen, so there’s a satisfying crunch in every bite.
5. Why Savannah is in the name.
Not long before creating this flavor, Jeni finished Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—a famed book centered around a murder in the heart of old Savannah. When Jeni closed her eyes and took a bite of the buttery peppermint ice cream she’d created, the flavor transported her to thoughts of the South, to a city she imagined as both old and new. “I thought it tasted like white gloves and tea parties,” Jeni says. And so she changed the name from Society Mint to Savannah Buttermint.