Last week I realized that a person can make her own gin.
So, I immediately set to making gin…because what else did I have to do? Prepare for my kid’s IEP meeting? Pshaw. Send out letters from the foundation? Yawn…Complete the testing for my potential new job? Child, please.
Now before you all get overly excited imagining me in a mask welding a still (note to self, take welding classes, if only for the mask), it was a compound gin. For those of you who are not gin nerds—among whom I do not count myself, mind you…at least not yet, but we all need goals—this means that I made gin for dummies. Rather than a second distillation process with a high-proof neutral grain alcohol + yummy things that make gin, well, gin, I essentially made gin-sun-tea with a drinkable proof neutral alcohol (read: Grey Goose vodka).
And it was pretty much the most exciting thing to happen all week—if you exclude *someone* I know jumping out of a plane.
Before getting started, I did a wee bit of research. Found some recipes. Learned a few things that essentially amounted to the sense that gin is an awe-inspiringly wide category and a list of things that (1) always flavor gin, (2) often flavor gin and (3) sometimes flavor gin.
And then I set off into the weeds wanting to make my own recipe—primarily because I wanted to make it with what was most convenient for me. I know, I know. This is one of those places where I am supposed to lie, right? Where I’m supposed to say: I decided to substitute lemon and lime rind for grapefruit in so and so’s recipe because it is more true to some [fill in the blank with bs] concept of gin. But, let’s be real, I didn’t have a fucking grapefruit—but I had plenty of limes and lemons…so, yeah. Ditto angelic root. (Are you all thinking I pretty much messed it all up leaving out the angelica root?)
Well, let’s see—here’s what I did:
Step 1 Add 1 tablespoon juniper berries to 1 cup Grey Goose Vodka in a mason jar.
Step 2 Let this soak for 12 hours
Step 3 Add the following to the jar:
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 allspice berries
2 green cardamom pods, broken
1 spring lavender
1 extra-small lilac panicle
1/8 cinnamon (cassia) stick
1/8 teaspoon pink peppercorn
lemon peel and grated lime zest
Step 4 Let this soak for 36 hours
Step 5 Drink
I mixed two tasting G&Ts with the gin. One with standard polar tonic and once with Jack Rudy small batch tonic. The drink with Jack Rudy Tonic was actually pretty damn great…so I had to follow it up with a less amazing tonic just to see. Obviously the flavor of the drink was less complex, but I’d say the gin held up pretty damn well thankyouverymuch!
It wasn’t perfect, but I must say the spice of the pink peppercorn was pretty outstanding and the heavier citrus notes made it really lovely in gin and tonic form. And I’d really like to play around with other flavor combinations. Next time I think I will increase the juniper a bit. I’d like to play around with some other flavors as well–like star anise (and grapefruit or whatever).
I better get to work…