Tuesday, January 3, 2012

not by the hairs of my ginny gin gin

Ever since I tackled tonic water, I have been wanting to attempt homemade gin. Actually, that is a bit of a lie. Several years ago, I got into a rather heated discussion about my adamant dislike of gin. It falls into the category of "it tastes like licking a christmas tree, which I am not into". (see also, pine nuts)

For this reason, I had been seeking out a juniper-free gin. Apparently if you remove the juniper, gin it cannot be. Gin only is if juniper is present. This conversation lead to a quest for an "infused vodka" that contained all of the gin botanicals, sans juniper. We found one, but Four Square. It was ok, but very very very floral, and I say that in a grandma's perfume sort of way; not what I want in a cocktail, ever.

Recently being given a bergamot orange, I got inspired to muck around with centuries worth of fine acohol making. (Bergamot oil and/or peel is what gives earl grey tea its quintessential flavor and aroma.)

"Gin" or "infused vodka attempt 1"
4 cups vodka
1/4 ceylon cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
2 whole allspice berries
1/2 a green corriander pod
1/4 tsp whole cubebs
1/4 tsp grains of paradise
zest of 1/4 a navel orange
zest of 1/4 a bergamot orange

I zested the citrus into the vodka, to aid in it funneling back into the bottle. I didn't use the full peel, because I fear the bitter.

I am hoping that the bergamont will offer up some of the intensity that the juniper usually does. I didn't have any licorice root, so I went with fennel seeds. The cubebs and grains of paradise are hard-to-find spices, but they don the back of the Bombay Sapphire bottle, so I thought since I was out at Christina's Spice Shop, I may as well pick some up and give it a try. The bay leaf isn't on any recipe either, but Knauer's recipe in Gourmet called for rosemary, and since I think that stuff takes like turpentine in large quantities, I thought maybe the bay would bring some earthiness and subtlety to the bottle.

All that is left is to wait and taste.


  1. I LOVE gin but I am excited to see how your juniper-less version comes out!

  2. Spoiler alert - the result is BETTER than expected!

  3. I know this is waaaaayyyy after the fact, but how did this turn out. I'm allergic to juniper (cocktail life RIP) but love botanicals... and tragically enough the smell of gin