When it comes to gin, it’s all about the recipe. Like an elaborate mosaic of herbs and spices, each recipe is so unique to the producer that no two gins are ever the same. So do you ever find yourself mystified by this concept of infusion and wonder how cool it would be to make your own gin? Well folks, the Juniper Fairy has answered your wish with The Homemade Gin Kit. No bathtub necessary.
Designed and created by a team of booze-loving friends, the kit arrives in a box containing two 375mL glass bottles, a tin of juniper berries, a tin of a special botanical blend, a custom stainless steel funnel and strainer, and easy-to-follow instructions. The entire infusion process takes 36 hours, and the steps are fairly simple.
First, grab yourself a bottle of any midpriced vodka—no specific brand or grain. Then using the funnel, insert the juniper berries into the vodka bottle, give it a little shake, and then let it sit in a dark and cool place for 24 hours. Next, funnel in the botanical blend and shake the bottle again before placing it back in that cool place for another 12 hours. Lastly, strain the vodka bottle’s now-golden-hued contents into the two 375mL bottles provided. And there you have it: two handy-size bottles of your very own homemade, unfiltered gin.
But let’s rewind back to that base spirit. While we can all appreciate the luxury of choice, keep in mind that at some point in your life you’ve come across a gin that tasted like a shark attack to the mouth. Bad recipe? Maybe. Bad base spirit? You betcha. So make sure your gin starts off on the right foot with a vodka that you actually like.
While you’re at it, why not spice things up and try it out with two different vodkas? Instead of funneling the botanical contents into one bottle of vodka, pour your two selected vodkas into the provided 375mL bottles (one in each, not blended) and spread the botanical wealth equally between them. Thirty-six hours later, you have two very different gins.
As an example, these are the results of using two lovely, yet dissimilar, vodkas:
Charbay Clear Vodka (Ukiah, Calif.)
Source: American Midwest corn and rye
Profile: Dry with expressive purity, spice notes from the rye and a silky texture
Spirit Works Distillery Vodka (Sebastopol, Calif.)
Source: California-grown hard red winter wheat
Profile: A touch of sweetness with caramel notes, earthy undertones and a plush mouthfeel
While both gins turned out to be rustically eloquent, the distinction between them is striking. With Charbay Clear, the juniper notes are almost sweet when up against the illustrious backdrop of spices, and the resulting gin is pristine and full of life. With Spirit Works, both the floral essences and earthy tones really shine through for some real flower power while remaining soft to the touch.
And there you have it—same recipe, two very different bottles of gin. So for the sake of science, have some fun with the kit. And if you can’t wait to experiment with some more gin, the company also offers a collection of other blends, including smoky, spiced, hopped and barrel-aged.
But 36 hours is a long time to wait for your delicious DIY gin. So while you’re at the store, also grab yourself a bottle of Spirit Works Distillery gin. Using its same vodka as the base, it blends Old World and California botanicals such as hibiscus, coriander, cardamom and both orris and angelica root. But the real zing is in the fresh lemon and orange zest added to the distillation. Cheers!