Using Supermarket Ingredients
Love gin? Ever wondered how gin is made. In this post ‘how to make your own gin’ I am going to show you how easy it is to make your own ‘bathtub’ or compound gin from the comfort of your kitchen.
I’m assuming that, like me, you don’t have a pot still in the corner of your kitchen.
You can book yourself onto one of the many distilling workshops that are springing up all over the place. These are great fun but somewhat expensive.
If you don’t want to go to that expense and you want to have a go yourself ~ a sort of DIY gin ~ then here is the recipe. All you need is a few easily obtainable supermarket ingredients. You will also need a few pieces of kitchen equipment which you probably already have. And you will be in good company. There is a long history of making ‘bathtub’ or compound gin at home. (But that’s another blog post!)
Compound gin simply means steeping your ingredients or botanicals in neutral grain spirit for a period of time. While most of us don’t have access to neutral grain spirit, we do have access to vodka. They are virtually one and the same. See my post The Cult of Ginwhich explains gin distilling in more detail.
This is a juniper-forward gin. But then I’m a juniper kind of gal. Reduce the amount of juniper berries if you so wish ~ I won’t mind.
A large Kilner jar (at least 1 litre)
A pestle and mortar (for crushing the botanicals ~ more of that later)
Coffee filter funnel (try saying that after a couple of G&Ts)
Coffee filters; a funnel; a sieve; a jug; muslin cloth; kitchen scales
1 x 70cl bottle of your favourite vodka
14g juniper berries
6g whole coriander seeds
1 cardamom pod
1/4 cinnamon stick
4 inch piece of clementine peel without the pith
4 inch piece of lemon peel without the pith
Step 1: Sterilize the Kilner jar in your dishwasher.
Step 2: Weigh out your ingredients.
Step 3: Put the juniper berries, coriander seeds and cardamom pod in the mortar. Give them a good bash with the pestle. But not so much you pulverize the botanicals. You just want to release the flavour.
Step 4: Put the crushed botanicals, cinnamon and peel in the Kilner jar.
Step 5: Pour in the bottle of vodka. Stick your nose in the jar. It will already smell heavenly. Although, to be honest, it will look like the bottom of a very dirty aquarium.
Step 6: Wait… And wait… And wait…
Step 7: After 12 hours, or overnight steeping, test your ‘gin’. By now you should have some idea of which way the flavour profile is going.
At this stage you may want to add more of some of the ingredients, fish some out, or if you are feeling adventurous strike out on your own and add something completely different.
It’s up to you. This recipe is a base and you can have as much fun as you like adapting it. As long as you use food grade botanicals. Create a gin for every day of the week!
Try not to leave it very much longer than 12 hours. The taste won’t necessarily improve. Less is best with gin. Alcohol is a fantastic solvent (and stain remover) even at 37.5% ABV.
Step 8: When you are satisfied with the flavour it is time to strain your gin. Place the muslin square in the sieve over the jug. Pour out your mixture. The muslin cloth will catch the bits but your gin will still be cloudy. The cloudiness is all of those lovely botanicals suspended in the gin.
Step 9: Pour through the funnel back into the vodka bottle.
Step 10: Leave to settle for a few days or a couple of weeks for the flavours to marry and mature. It will also give the botanicals time to settle on the bottom of the bottle.
Tip: Your compound gin will be the colour of horse wee. This is a fact of life. Get over it. Of course, if it tastes like horse wee go back to Step 1.
Step 11: Filter through the coffee filters a couple of times. Although you will find that some cloudiness is inevitable.
Tip: I’ve heard that sticking the bottle in your freezer to effectively chill filter it will remove the remaining cloudiness. I’ve not found this to be true. At least not with my freezer.
Step 12: Serve your heavenly gin with a mixer and garnish of your choice.
Step 13: Experiment and have fun.
I mixed mine with Fevertree Clementine and Cinnamon tonic water. Garnished with lemon, cinnamon stick and star anise.
Do let me know how you get on with this easy to make gin. Perhaps you have a recipe you want to share?