A few weeks ago, at that old-timey bar in the industrial neighborhood with the denim apron store and all of the fixie bikes—yeah, you know the one—you and your friends proclaimed, “This is the year we get into gin.” Kind of an annoying thing to say, but we get it. We’re in the midst of a huge gin renaissance (ginaissance?), and now is a great time to collectively gather your Dutch Courage and check it out.
Giving gin-making a go could involve an old bathtub in a vacant lot, but that would be illegal without a permit and potentially incredibly dangerous. So let’s not do that. To be absolutely clear, Man Crates does not encourage anyone to distill liquor without a permit or at all. Legal team, mind taking a look at this paragraph?
How it all be-gins
The cool thing about gin is that it can be made in a two-step process: (1) distillation and (2) infusion. And we can let Big Booze handle step one. With a neutral alcohol (we recommend vodka), anyone can make a fine, fine gin suitable for a bramble in a backroom speakeasy. That said, Man Crates absolutely does not suggest for anyone to operate an illegal back room gin joint-slash-casino. Legal team, can we get a once-over on this? Thanks.
Fill it with flavor
Infusion is the fun part, anyway. Bigger payoff, less mess, less chance of blindness and/or vapor explosion. We’ve got everything needed to get started (aside from vodka) in our Gin-Fusion Kit. Whether it’ll end up in a dry martini or a fluorescent Blue Lady, for a liquor to qualify as gin, juniper berries must be the predominant flavor. Aside from that, it’s a blank canvas. Our kit includes juniper berries, coriander seeds, lavender, citrus peel and six other spices. The kit also includes two 375mL glass bottles with bar top corks and an instruction/recipe booklet
Making an infused gin is fun and easy. Just follow these steps:
1) Slowly place the glass bottles in boiling water to sterilize them (side note: the vodka will also help with this).
2) Drain and let the glass cool.
3) Then add a selection of botanicals, leaving out the citrus peel if that’s part of the recipe, and fill the bottles with vodka.
4) This is the hard part. Put the bottles in a cool, dark place and wait 24 excruciating hours.
5) Next, taste test it. You’ll taste the juniper-ness. If any other flavors need to come out a little more, add more of them, and if citrus peel is invited, pop it in.
6) Then…sorry. Another 24 hours. But give it a taste a time or two to see if the infusion is ready early.
When it’s ready, or when you just can’t stand waiting another moment, filter the infusion with a sieve and/or coffee filter. The gin (hey, it’s gin!) will have some color to it, which we think is a good look, but if that’s not your style, you can filter it in a water filter. As a bonus, hey, you just cleaned your water filter.
For a simple cocktail taken to the next level, try an this recipe.
Extra Smooth Gimlet
What you need
- 2 oz gin infused with juniper, chamomile, lavender, and citrus peel
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup or honey
- Lime or cucumber garnish
How to make it
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir vigorously with a long cocktail spoon until very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass or pour over a rocks. Garnish with the cucumber wheel or citrus peel.
Or try a this punch-packing recipe. Not for the meek.
Punched Up Bramble
What you need
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 6 blackberries
- Crushed ice
- 1 oz crème de mûre
- 1 1/2 oz gin infused with juniper, allspice berries, and star anise
Combine the lemon juice and blackberries in a glass and muddle until the berries are broken up. Add crushed ice,crème de mûre, and gin, stir to combine and serve.
The Gin-Fusion Kit is a gift that keeps on giving (optionally, of course). A bottle of handcrafted gin given to a party host is such a classy move. “What’s that, Jared? You brought a bottle of wine? Adorable. What’s this? Why, it’s a carafe of homemade giggle juice, pal.”
Gin is in. Get into the spirit.