The thing about gin I find incredible is how many varieties there are. Each gin is unique and very interesting from different colours, delicious botanicals, exciting stories, and stunning locations. In our homes, we make a lot of what we consume from scratch, there's no better feeling than cooking dinner or baking a cake, and everyone loving it. While we enjoy buying our ready-made gin to drink, have you ever thought about making it yourself? Imagine the feeling of making your own gin and drinking it. Whilst expert distillers will use copper pot stills, you can infuse your base spirit at home yourself to make delicious gin, which we will explain how to do in this article.
What Exactly Is Gin?
Gin is a distilled alcoholic base spirit that has to be predominantly flavoured with juniper berries, and that is, in fact, EU law. Essentially it's juniper flavoured vodka. Once you have that, you can then start adding different botanicals to make it your own. From herbs to spices, citrus, and even flowers, there is a vast array of botanicals you can use. I love gin for its complex flavour, and every gin is somewhat related but is so different.
Different Styles Of Gin.
London Dry Gin
The most popular and the original style of gin, this is the best style of gin for your classic G&T or martinis. London dry gin originated from England, it has to be clear, no artificial colours or flavours and has to be at least 37.5% ABV. The spirit is juniper led with different botanicals working together like citrus, earthy and floral etc.
Old Tom Gin
Rewind to the 18th century when a lot of gin was made in bathtubs in residential homes, and distillers wanted to improve their profit margins by adding cheap and nasty ingredients into their spirit. Sugar and Liquorice were added to the liquid to enhance the taste and make it easier to drink. This gin is predominately a London dry gin but sweeter; it works well in cocktails, especially more bitter cocktails like the negroni.
Navy Strength Gin
The Navy would drink gin at sea, but if they spilt the classic London dry gin over gunpowder, it wouldn't enlight. In order to prevent this, navy strength gin has to be above 57% ABV, so it would spill, there wouldn't be any problems. The Benefit of Navy strength gin is that it's bursting with more flavours & aromas.
Did you know Pink Gin was created to help with nausea and upset stomach? A doctor working for an army had developed a tonic with an extract in it called gentian, which was called Amargo Aromatico. The army and Navy mixed it with gin to make it taste better. The mixture was a dark red colour, and when combined with gin, it turned pink. Nowadays, pink gin gets its colour from various botanicals like rhubarb, hibiscus and strawberries.
Colour Changing Gin
This is a relatively new category of gin. It is usually infused with purple pea tea or lavender. The gin is a dark purple colour in the bottle and first poured into the glass; when you add tonic, it turns a lovely pink colour. It takes your gin to the next level and gives any London dry gin the makeover it's always wanted.
The great thing about gin is the number of incredible varieties because of the vast array of unique botanicals. Every gin has to have juniper as the main botanical, but all the other botanicals can be different. From cassia bark to pink peppercorn to hibiscus, this is what makes gin so interesting & diverse.
What is a Juniper Berry?
Juniper is, in fact, not a berry at all, only named a berry from its fleshy and round appearance. It is the female seed cone of the Juniper plant. It has been used for hundreds of years for various reasons; for example, during the plague, it was believed that bad odour spread the disease, so doctors would put juniper berries in their masks to prevent smelling the bad odour. Also, Juniper oil is a good insect repellent. We know it best today for its beautiful piney flavour in gin; gin wouldn't be gin without juniper; we love it!
What Do I Need To Create Gin?
You'll be happy to know you don't have to buy a copper pot still or buy a distillery; it is much easier than this! All you will need is one of our ultimate gin-making kits, a bottle of vodka, a large jar, strainer, and you're good to go.
How To Make Gin?
In our ultimate gin-making kits, we have a booklet jam-packed with instructions, recipes, labels, premium bar accessories and all the botanicals you need.. You will add the vodka into your large jar; then, you add the main star, juniper! Leave for 48hrs, then add your other botanicals to the vodka for another 48hrs, from pink peppercorn to citrus peel; you'll be spoiled for choice. After four days, you'll have your delicious handmade gin to strain into your bottle; we have even included labels to name your amazing gin creation.
The Best Way To Serve a G&T?
The most crucial part, drinking it! You want to maximise your spirit by serving it right, here are our top tips. Firstly, the glass is so important; this is why we recommend our beautiful handmade crystal copa glasses, the design of this glass releases an intense botanical aroma from your drink. Next is the ice, the more ice - the less it melts; I would try a g&t without ice then one with ice and the difference is day and night. The next is a tonic; you don't want to mix 3/4 of your drink with nasty tonic. I would recommend Lixir tonic as it's made by bartenders who are experts in the taste. They offer a wide range of flavours suited for anyone's palette. Lastly, did you know 80% of your taste comes from the smell? This is why using a garnish is so essential. My favourite being a citrus peel; you can rub the peel on the handle & around the rim for a beautiful aroma before adding to your drink.
We love to see your gintastic creations; when you create your gin with our ultimate gin-making kit, please tag us so we can see! Tag us on Instagram at @vemacityuk , on our Facebook page or on our amazing gin community page All Things Gin.