Yes, it is Gin. No, it really wasn’t that great. In fact it was pretty poor, barely drinkable.
But it was a lot of fun and I learned a quite a bit. The most important thing I learned is that some botanicals are really powerful! For example a little anise goes a long way. A lot of anise is way too much.
No, I’m not distilling my own spirits. In fact I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in most states! I’m creating gin by ‘infusion’. The basic concept is pretty simple: Take a neutral spirit, typically vodka, and combine with the botanicals of your choice and let steep for 2-5 days. Pretty simple really.
The only rule is that Gin must have Juniper, that’s what makes a spirit “Gin”. If you’re wondering what other sorts of botanicals to use, google “Homemade Gin” and you’ll find quite a few recipes for guidance. That’s how I started. Also take a look at my “Botanical Elements of Gin” page to see what some commercial Gins use.
Here’s the process I used for this small, initial batch:
Day 0: I assembled the following botanicals.
10 gms Juniper, 1/3 of which I ground
4 gms Coriander, ground
1 Cardomon Pod, ground
1 Star Anise, ground
2 gms, Allspice, ground
2 green peppercorn, ground
2 red peppercorn, ground
All of these items I put into 375 ml of 100 proof Vodka.
+24 hours: I added the following.
Orange Peel dried, 6 inches thin
Lemon Peel dried, 6 inches thin
+72 hours: First tasting!
First I sieved out the bits and pieces of the botanicals. As expected the liquid was a nice caramel color. Then the first quick taste. WOW, lots of Anise!! Really a lot. Reminiscent of Jagermeister, Ouzo, or Raki, but with out their subtlety and refinement. There were also all the other flavors, but definitely in the background, except for a bit of bitterness that came through. And overall it was a bit light on Juniper.
Day 5: Final tasting.
Still Lots of Anise! Definitely too much. Next time I’ll cut the Star Anise by 75%, at least!! I might just skip it all together and focus on the more subtle flavors.
I should have added a photo of this, but sometimes a picture isn’t really worth 1000 words.
For my next batch, and there will be another, I think I’ll use the following changes:
Cut, or eliminate, the Star Anise.
Use dried citrus zest instead of the dried thin citrus peels.
Just a couple more peppercorns to give it more pepper kick.
And more Juniper, probably bump it up by 50%.
Keep watching, I’ll let you know that turns out!
For my first effort I give my self one upside down Martini glass.
If you’re curious about what one vs. two vs. upside down stems means,
I refer you to the following:
***** Rating Definitions ****