Hillary’s Sweet Lemon Mint (Mentha Dulcia Citreus) is the product of seven years of experimentation by amateur plant hybridizer Jim Westerfield, all conducted in his rural Illinois garden. Over years of painstaking work, delicately hand-pollinating female mint flowers with pollen from male flowers of different varieties, Westerfield created more than 60 different types of mint.
“Hillary’s Sweet Lemon” was his proudest achievement. The variety arose from a cross between apple and lime mint. It has a soft, mild flavor and a scent that evokes a touch of lemon combined with mint. Due to this unique aroma and flavor, the plant received a United States patent in 1993. The variety is also quite beautiful, with fuzzy, silvery-gray leaves and spikes of lavender flowers.
Hillary’s Sweet Lemon mint was used in many of the desserts and beverages at The Westerfield House, the Illinois inn and restaurant that Jim and his wife, Marilyn, operated from 1984 to 2002. The Westerfield House Cookbook features recipes such as mint lemonade and mint cookies that were created specifically to highlight its subtle lemony flavor.
Westerfield named the mint after former First Lady Hillary Clinton, whom he greatly admired. Intrigued by the story, Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello took plants of the mint with him to the White House in 1994. He personally presented Hillary’s Sweet Lemon mint to the First Lady, who wrote Westerfield a thank-you letter. The unique story of Hillary’s Sweet Lemon mint was featured on television and in newspapers across the country, and the variety is still available to home gardeners today.
Need to Know
The First Lady's mint is not commonly used in restaurants or bars, so the best way to try it is to buy a plant from growers.
Where to Try It
Colonial Creek Farm65 Modoc Lane, Swainsboro, Georgia, 30401, United States
This farm specializes in hard-to-find culinary and ornamental herbs.
Morningsun Herb Farm6137 Pleasants Valley Rd, Vacaville, California, 95688, United States
A small California herb farm, with a broad variety of culinary herbs.