Introduction: Make Your Own Gin With Foraged Botanicals (compound Method, Not Distillation)
A refreshing gin and tonic is the perfect drink on a hot summers day. This instructable will guide you through the process of creating your own gin recipe. To make it even more rewarding, some of the botanicals featured in this recipe (and hopefully yours) were foraged by hand in the great outdoors. So, get out there, get picking and let's make some gin!
Step 1: Create Your Base Recipe
First things first, in order to be called gin, juniper must be the main flavouring ingredient. Not a fan of juniper? It's your creation, so feel free to skip it and make your own flavoured spirit and give it any name you please. I'm sticking with gin, so juniper was the main ingredient in my recipe. Next up are cardamom and coriander, common to nearly all gins. After that you can get more creative. My recipe is below, but customize it as you like. This will be the basic flavour of your gin, and the botanicals you forage should compliment these flavours. Vodka will be the base spirit for this gin, so you'll need some of that too.
Cardamom 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander 3/4 teaspoon
Black peppercorns 1/4 teaspoon
Fennel seed 1/4 teaspoon or a very tiny piece of star anise (this is powerful stuff, a little goes a long way)
*these measurements are for 250ml of Vodka
Step 2: Forage for Your Feature Botanicals
Get outside! If you want to play it safe, gather some of your own herbs from the garden. If you want to get a bit more adventerous, look a little further afield. I went out and collected some gorse. It smells of sweet coconut and gives the gin a fresh, grassy, cucumber flavour. I also collected basil from my garden. It's important to make sure you know what your picking, and that you forage responsibly. There are lots of books you can use to find out about flavours and plants that are safe to forage. Make sure you have a book like this with you to identify plants when you're out.
Step 3: Maceration- Botanicals and Alcohol Mixing Together
Once you've got all of your ingredients, measure your vodka and botanicals and add them all to a jar. I learned through trials that a wide neck is better than a skinny one later on when you have to pour your gin through a sieve. All the bits can get stuck in a skinny neck. Once you have added your botanicals to your spirit, let it macerate for at least 24 hours.
Step 4: Filter Out the Solids and Enjoy!
Once the flavours from the botanicals have had time to be extracted, you can pour your gin through a sieve to filter out the solids. I find using a funnel and a sieve placed in a clean bottle works best. You could use a coffee filter for finer filtration, but if you've used large botanicals that shouldn't be necessary. The gin will be colored, as all gins are before distillation. Finally, grab some ice, tonic and a garnish to compliment your flavours and enjoy! Cheers!