Everything is DIY these days. People brew their own beer. Urban farmers with backyard chicken coops and beehives are multiplying exponentially…or at least, here in Austin they are. It was only a matter of time before Americans took certain matters into their own hands and started distilling their own homemade liquors as well.
Luckily for us agriculturally-challenged folks, the dudes at the Homemade Gin Kit have our backs. No Boardwalk Empire bathtub swill for us in 2013! Instead, you can send away for a big box packed with (almost) everything you need to create your very own bottle of gin. For $40 plus tax and shipping, they’ll send you juniper berries, a mix of botanicals, spices, and flowers, two glass swing top liquor bottles, a double mesh fine strainer, a funnel, and detailed instructions. All you need to have is your own bottle of mid-grade vodka, and a little bit of patience.
I was fortunate enough to score a sample of the Gin Kit before it was released to the public this holiday season, and I’ll be honest: while the idea of making my own booze was undeniably appealing, I was a liiiiiittle bit skeptical. Could I really make gin just by throwing some dried herbs into a bottle of vodka? Also, I’m pretty picky about gin quality (unlike boxed wine or well vodka, I actually have standards when it comes to gin, because the cheap stuff makes me nauseous)—would this creation even be up to my standards?
Well, if anyone was up for the challenge of finding out, it was THIS GIRL.
Here’s what came out of my kit:
Here you can see all the supplies I listed above (plus my own bottle of Vikingfjord Vodka, which is pretty good, and a steal at $10ish!) The equipment is all high-quality stuff—-the glass bottles are really nice and sturdy, and the strainer and funnel are solid as well. I will definitely add these to permanent rotation in my kitchen tool collection.
Anyway, the process is pretty simple. You add some of the juniper to the vodka bottle, wait a day-ish, add the rest of the botanicals, wait longer, than strain out all the crud and funnel the remaining liquid into the glass bottles. Ta-da, gin! The process of making the gin itself took about a weekend (as in, spending 5-10 minutes on each step, every other part was just waiting) and it was fun and exciting. I guess the excitement factor depends on how thrilled you get about booze, but we all know how I feel about that.
Here’s me fulfilling my destiny with the last part of the process, funneling the gin into its final home:
(And yes, I am distilling homemade gin while repping my Washington Huskies, where do you think I learned how to get creative with my alcohol?)
In the end, it’s all about the GIN and how it turned out. I gotta say, it surpassed all expectations! The liquor definitely tasted like real gin, but in the best way possible; not heavy and pine-y, but light, aromatic, fragrant, and somehow almost a bit citrusy. This gin didn’t need a bunch of bells and whistles. I just poured it over ice and topped with soda water and a fresh lemon wedge, and it was absolutely refreshing. I don’t just think this because I’m the one who made it. I brought my gin creation to a few different cocktail parties and everyone, including gin connoisseurs, said it was delicious, some of the best they’ve ever had.
This 2013, don’t resolve to quit drinking… just resolve to quit drinking crappy booze and make your own homemade gin! Just imagine how accomplished (and possibly buzzed) you’ll feel.