Ever wondered how to make botanical gin at home? We're here to show you just how easy it really is.
We'll be using the Air Still and Infusion Basket to make a London Dry gin using a blend of juniper, coriander, liquorice Root, and dried lemon and orange peel. Once distilled, we'll be left with a bright, crisp and refreshing gin with notes of pine and citrus, and a warm pepperiness on the palate. You can choose from our range of Gin Botanicals or alternatively, you can make your own botanical blend!
So let's get started...
For this recipe we've used an Air Still. If you don't already have one, we'd recommend picking up an Air Still Essentials Kit as this contains everything you need to get started on your distilling journey.
"So what equipment do I need to make gin?" we hear you ask. You'll need:
- Air Still
- Air Still Infusion Basket
- 10 L Fermenter with Thermometer
- Carbon Filter (optional)
- Spirit collector
- 2 x 1 L Bottles
- Mixing Spoon
- Distilling Conditioner
- Boil Enhancers
- Cold Water Cleaner
- No-rinse sanitiser (or other sanitiser suitable for use with distilling equipment)
Now that you've got your equipment, it's time to gather all your ingredients together. You'll need:
Right, you've got your equipment and ingredients sussed so it's time to get your hands dirty! This method is going to produce two batches, so you can experiment with botanicals between batches if you want to try a few different styles!
Steps 1 through 15 take you through the initial stripping run, which is where you are going to distill the alcohol from the wash to use in the botanical run. The remaining steps take you through the botanical run where all of those amazing gin flavours we love are imparted.
- First, clean and sanitise your fermenter and mixing spoon.
- Add 7.5 L (2 US Gal) of water at approximately 30°C (86°F) to your fermenter.
- Add 2.2 kg (4.9 lb) sucrose or 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) dextrose to the water and stir until dissolved. You should now have approximately 9 L (2.4 US Gal) of sugar wash ready for fermentation. Add Turbo Carbon (if you wish) and stir well – this will adsorb impurities produced by the yeast during fermentation, improving the quality of your alcohol.
- Shake the jar of Distiller’s Nutrient and measure out 55 g (1.9 oz). Add the Distiller’s Nutrient and Gin Distiller’s Yeast to the fermenter at the same time and stir well to dissolve. Now pop the lid on.
- Leave this to ferment at 20-32°C (68-90°F) ambient temperature for approximately 7 days..
- On Day 7, check the Specific Gravity (SG) using a hydrometer, then check again 24 hours later to make sure it has not changed.
- Once the SG is stable, leave the wash to stand for 1-2 days to allow any remaining solids and yeast to settle out. Adding Turbo Clear at this stage will help speed up the clarification process.
- Once settled, the wash is ready for distillation. Pour or siphon 4 L (1.1 US Gal) of the wash into your clean Air Still, taking care to leave behind any sediment.
- Add the Ceramic Boil Enhancers and 1 capful Distilling Conditioner to the still.
- Fit the nozzle onto the still head and fit the lid onto the boiler, making sure it is airtight. Place a collector that can hold 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) under the nozzle and plug the still in.
- Turn the power on (you'll hear the fan turn on immediately).
- Discard the first 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) of distillate and place another spirit collector under the nozzle, this time one that can hold up to 800 ml (27.1 fl oz).
- Allow the Air Still to run until you've collected 650-700 ml .
- Check the ABV of your spirit with an alcoholmeter. It should be approximately 60% ABV (120 proof). You need to dilute this down to 40% ABV (80 proof) by adding water to it. Try using this calculator to see exactly what volume of water you need to add.
- You may wish to filter your diluted spirit through a carbon filter to polish it. This will give you a smoother, well-rounded gin and definitely contributes to a better final product. While polishing your spirit, you can distill the second batch of wash if you'd like but the remaining wash can also be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
You are now ready for your botanical infusion run!
- Once you have polished the spirit, add it to the Air Still boiler and dilute it further by adding water until you reach the 4 L (1.1 US Gal) mark. This should take you to around 12% ABV (24 proof).
- Add 30-35 g of gin botanicals to the infusion basket and fit the basket to the underside of the Air Still lid by holding the lid upright and lining up the dimple on the basket with the notch on the lid. Rotate it to secure. Do not turn the lid upside down at any point or you will block the vapour outlet.
- Turn your Air Still on again and distill it as you did in the previous run.
- Once you've collected your spirit, use the alcoholmeter to check the ABV and use the calculator to dilute it back down to 40% ABV (80 proof).
- You can now bottle your gin! We suggest leaving it in the bottle for a few days to mellow and let the flavours settle in .
- Finally, and most importantly, enjoy!
Head to your local Still Spirits stockist to pick up your ingredients and get distilling today.
Don't forget to share your creations with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via social media, leave a comment below, or send us a message directly here.