How To Make Your Own Gin
As it turns out, you basically only need vodka and some spices. And what better time of year to whip up this festive liquor than literally right this minute?
So go ahead, grab some vodka, and you'll soon be guided through the surprisingly easy steps to concoct what's arguably the trademark alcohol of grandpas everywhere.
All ingredients are available at the grocery store, but we tapped our friends at Homemade Gin who put it all together in one convenient kit that you can buy from us.
To break it down, you'll want to get your hands on two 12-ounce glass bottles, a funnel, and a strainer.
Any old vodka will work for the base alcohol; top-shelf stuff is not needed here. But pay close attention to what's in those tins: juniper berries and a blend of botanicals are the magic ingredients that stand between you and an ice cold G&T.
Add about one ounce of juniper berries to a 750ml container of vodka, using the funnel. Fun fact: pregnant women shouldn't handle juniper berries. So if you're pregnant, drink something else. (Non-alcoholic.)
Cap the bottle, and give it a shake. It's normal for the berries to bottleneck at the top. Then, let it sit for 24 hours in a cool, dark place.
Did you know unfiltered gin has a golden yellow tint? I didn't, and thought I'd somehow ruined this grown-up science experiment. Turns out, this is normal. Whew. Okay, moving on.
Add your botanicals 24 hours later. A Bay leaf and an even one-ounce blend of the following gives your gin its signature flavor:
Just toss it all in there, like a boozy potpourri salad.
This looks more like a Christmas decoration than something you'd willingly ingest.
One more shake!
Twelve hours later, you're ready to strain out the berries and botanicals. Grab your sieve, and funnel it from the vodka bottle into the two glass containers.
Pour a glass and enjoy. Christmas tree optional but highly recommended.
It tasted earthy and distinctively like pine needles, but I was curious how it would stack up against the store-bought stuff.
So naturally I blindfolded two of my co-workers and made them try both gins to see if they could tell them apart. (Yep, they were drinking hard alcohol before noon on a Wednesday.)
Turns out, there's no mistaking the homemade version. The flavors are way more robust, even described as "sap-like" by one of our editors. He added: "I know you think I'm just saying this but I prefer yours to the professional one. It's more smoky, more earthy, more real."
Given the effort (minimal), and the outcome on taste (high), I'd suggest making your own gin this holiday season. What better way to enjoy your family than after a few glasses?