We met some of the best gin distillers in the world and heard them talk about the art of making gin, the problem of choosing the right botanicals, and the best distillation techniques. Luckily, to make gin at home, you don't need all this expert knowledge. Creating gin for home use can be much more straightforward.
A gin, in its basic form, needs to be at least 37.5 ABV in the EU or 40% ABV in the US, and its dominant botanical has to be juniper. Typically, commercial gin is produced by extracting flavors and aromas of the botanicals through distillation.
Now, distilling spirits at home is not only complicated but also illegal. So crafting your own gin at home by steeping botanicals in a base spirit is your only option. This cold compounded gin doesn't require a still; you only need a base spirit, botanicals, and a little time.
To make gin at home, all you need is a neutral base spirit and a selection of botanicals. To help you choose the right ones, here are some essential ones explained:
- Base spirit: Gin can be made of different spirits - mostly grain-based, but some are made from potatoes, grapes, and other agricultural ingredients. Your best option here is quality vodka.
- Juniper berries: Juniper should be the dominant botanical in any gin. For a homemade compound gin, you probably need 2 tbsp of juniper berries, more if you prefer a strong juniper note.
- Coriander seeds: These seeds are the second most important botanical in gin. These seeds bring beautiful citrus aromas and flavors into your gin and should be part of any recipe.
- Angelica root: The third component of the holy trinity of gin botanicals. Angelica roots have a very subtle earthy taste that helps to marry all the flavors in your gin.
- Additional botanical ingredients: The possibilities are almost endless. Start with cardamom pods, peppercorns, allspice berries, cassia bark, cinnamon, and dried peels of lemons, grapefruits, and oranges.
- 1 Large Mason jar
- 1 Cheesecloth
- 1 Fine-mesh strainer
- 750 ml Quality Vodka - (eg. Ketel One)
- 3 tbsp Juniper berries
- 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp Angelica root cut into pieces
- 2 Cardamom pods
- 2 Peppercorns
- 3-4 Allspice berries
- 1/2 stick Cassia bark - (alternatively use cinnamon)
- 1 small Dried orange peel - (make sure that you don't use any of the pith as this will make your gin taste very bitter)
- 1 small Piece of dried lemon peel - (again, don't use any pith)
- 1 small Piece of grapefruit peel
- Sterilize your mason jar and the glass bottle.
- Add all botanicals to the mason jar and add the vodka.
- Close the jar, shake up everything, and let it sit and infuse for 24 hours.
- Shaker the jar gently to mix all the botanicals and let it sit for another 24 hours.
- Taste the gin. If it has enough flavor, it's ready to be strained. If it lacks these distinct gin flavors, let it sit for another 12 hours.
- Strain the gin using a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. That helps to get rid of any remaining sediment. Then let it sit again for 3-4 days.
- Strain again using a cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or a water filter to make the gin as clear and pure as possible.
- Finally, pour your homemade gin into the prepared bottle.
Cocktails to make with your homemade gin
It's time to make some fantastic gin cocktails with your homemade gin. You can check out our cocktail recipe hub for inspiration. If the selection is too overwhelming, why don't you start with some classics:
- Gin Sour - A lovely sour cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white or aquafaba.
- A refreshing Gin Fizz cocktail. The drink is pretty close to the Gin Sour but with the addition of chilled soda water.
- Classic Dry Martini - This simple concoction of gin and dry vermouth is an ideal way to highlight the flavors in your homemade gin.