Many of us at ThingsMenBuy.com enjoy a gin and tonic (there is always discussion about which gin to choose and whether to add a slice of lemon or a slice of lime!) How is gin made to make it into the adult beverage that we enjoy?
Gin has become fashionable with many local gins appearing and an increasingly wide variety to sample. There are some delicious gin-based cocktails to try, which one is your favorite? I think my vote goes to the Singapore Sling, although I love a sloe gin and tonic too!
How is Gin Made?
Gin can be made from any spirit alcohol made from agricultural product which meets the requirements laid down in the spirit drink regulation. This alcohol must be around 95% abv and the best ones are usually made from grain (usually barley or maize) or molasses.
The best neutral alcohol has no flavor at all. If you ever fancy making your own gin, you can find 95% neutral alcohol, if you look around AND if it happens to be legal in your state! I’m thinking of a rectified spirit (also called grain alcohol or neutral spirit) called Everclear.
If you decide to use this as a base to make your own gin with, make sure you know what you are getting yourself involved with! Check out the Ten Things you need to know about Everclear BEFORE you proceed.
According to Wikipedia:
“in the United States, gin is defined as an alcoholic beverage of no less than 40% ABV (80 proof) that possesses the characteristic flavour of juniper berries. Gin produced only through distillation or redistillation of aromatics with an alcoholic wash can be further distinguished and marketed as “distilled gin”.”
How To Make Your Own Gin
This one has the addition of parsnips as well as the ‘normal’ gin ingredients to make it into a distilled gin.
Here’s the recipe for the above video:
1L of alcohol or moonshine (50% ABV)
17 g of juniper
7 g of coriander
1.5 g of cassia-bark
1 g of lemon peel
2.5 g of orange peel
A pinch of: liquorice, anise, fennel and hyssop
How Is Gin Made: Production Methods
#1. Pot Distilled Gin
Pot distilled represents the earliest types of gin and uses a process which first distills the fermented grain mash and then distills it will flavored botanicals.
The earliest gins were heavier in nature and were often aged in barrels to give a more malty flavor.
#2. Column Distilled Gin
Column distilled gin evolved with the invention of the Coffey Still which enabled the distillers to create a gin which was lighter in flavor than the old pot method.
This sort of process produces distilled gin and also London dry gin.
#3. Compound Gin
Compound gin is simply made from flavoring neutral alcohol. It is not as highly regarded as distilled gin. If you Google compound gin, you will find various DIY recipes, which often start off with a cheap vodka base and then add the classic juniper and spice tastes of gin. (I think I’ll stick to buying myself a bottle of Gordon’s!)
How Is Sloe Gin Made?
What I am gonna have a go at making is my own sloe gin! Sloe berries aka blackthorn berries come off the blackthorn tree.
The blackthorn tree is not indigenous to the US, but you can easily either import the berries or head out and find some wild blackthorn trees. The trees are most prevalent in Eastern USA, so I’m lucky in Boston – I know of several places where I can find blackthorn trees.
I’ll let you know how well my bottle of Gordon’s turns into a delicious Sloe Gin!