I read that, in order to extract the essential oil (methyl salicylate) from wintergreen, you need to let the leaves ferment in water. To do that, you apparently (read: various crackpot websites instruct you to) put the leaves in water in a sealed jar, and leave them in a warm place for a few days.
Fermentation? In a few days? I was skeptical.
I did as instructed, and I have a potent wintergreen-flavored brew, but I don’t think any fermentation has been going on.
To make the tea, I added a couple of teaspoons of the wintergreen concoction to ordinary brewed tea (Lyon’s Green Label), and sweetened it with a little honey. It wasn’t bad at all.
I’m letting the rest of the leaves continue to steep. If it does ferment, it’ll be alcoholic, won’t it? Wintergreentinis, anyone?