Hearts Series, Episode 4: How to Distill a Gin


Posted by Jeff on 26th February 2015

 
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Next video in the Hearts series: |How to Distill a Whiskey|

Products used in this video:
Screened Gaskets
Distilling Botanicals

Video Transcription

Howdy folks, I’m Jeff from Moonshine Distiller, and welcome back for another hearts episode. In this episode, we’re going to be discussing gins, which is actually one of my favorite spirits. It’s a very versatile spirit, although it’s essentially just flavored vodka. Of course the easiest way to make a gin is actually to use one of our essences, and all you need to do is add it to a quart, or actually 750ml of moonshine or vodka. This will give you a very close flavor, since gin is just flavored vodka.

However, the more authentic way is to actually use botanicals, and if you really want to go overboard like I do, since I love gin, I actually pick my own juniper berries by the river right behind the shop here.

Gin is usually comprised of several different botanicals. Juniper is the most dominant one, which most people recognize. However, most gins contain at least one other ingredient: coriander. From there is where gins start to vary. Some contain quassia root, some contain orris root, some contain angelica root; those are more for the bittering. Some contain lemon peel, some contain lavender, some even contain green tea, and that’s more for the aromatic/floral.

It really depends on what type of gin you’re looking to make. You can make a strong gin, which is great in gin and tonics, because the carbonation in that really helps to bring out some of those compounds. Or you can make a lighter one, which is great for martinis. You can make a more botanical-heavy one, which will taste a little bit more medicinal, and a little bit more bitter. Or you can make a more floral one.

So you might be asking why we have two different types of gin essences. That’s because there’s two main different types of gin. There’s London dry gin, and Bombay-type gin. The Bombay typically has a slightly more delicate flavor, whereas the London dry gin has a more robust, dry feel in your mouth. Typically, for the London dry gin, the botanicals (which is your choice what you want to use) are macerated into the mash, and then all that mash is boiled, and the vapors are collected with the flavoring compounds from the botanicals that are left in that mash.

With the Bombay gin, however, the botanicals are typically stuffed into the still head, where the vapors then pass over them. In our stills, you can either use cheesecloth, or even one of our screened gaskets, to hold the botanicals in place. Or some stills even have a built-in gin basket. When the vapors pass over these botanicals, that creates a much more delicate, softer flavor, and brings through a lot more aromatics and a lot less of the bitter, dry compounds. This is why London dry gin has the ‘dry’ word in it, because those tannins and bitter compounds will give it a much more dry feel in your mouth.

So there you have it: gin making could be all across the board, using all kinds of different botanicals to create all kinds of different flavor combinations. My recommendation is just to experiment. Like everything else with distilling, it’s all about experimentation. And if you need any help picking something out, let us know. As always, we’re here to help.

Thanks for tuning in, we’ll see you next time.

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