Oh this Blog is not going in chronological order at all, oh well bugger it, this is how my brain seems to work.
So I was recently at a wedding up in Arisaig with fellow Gin Clubber Caldo (see post below). The wedding was Ritchie’s – an old school friend from Blairgowrie. Ritchie is a fellow Gin lover but has never actually been along to Gin Club to drink Gin and get the banter. So, as a present, me being a cheap skate (this didn’t actually turn out to be the cheap or stress free option) decided to craft my own Gin. After a long think about my favourite flavours and possibly a few impulse buys in Waitrose (yes, I have become that person who shops in the shop where people of a certain age, and what they perceive is their social standing, look at you with disdain and never apologise for walking into you) we were ready to go.
To kick-start the process I bought a 1 litre bottle of decent 50% ABV vodka, I should whisper this was Smirnoff Blue Label, and a second bottle of 40%. I also had a whole piece of ginger root – the standard size any supermarket sells, four stalks of lemon grass, a handful of dried juniper berries (about a small tea-cup – when I weighed it, it was around 20 grams) and a healthy pinch of rosemary. As you may have gathered there is nothing scientific or measured here. I was just going on my knowledge of flavours, making a Gin is as standard as everyday day cooking, isn’t it?
Everything was chopped up, except the dried juniper berries which were bashed, broken or used whole. The 50% vodka was added to a mixing bowl, then into that was added the botanicals. The bowl was covered in clingfilm and left. Everyday for two weeks I would open it up and stir. As time went on you could see the liquid begin to take on the colour of the ingredients, it became very orange or “gingery” in appearance. At this stage it was exceptionally bitter to the taste. On the Friday morning, after the two weeks of infusion, Caldo and I removed the clingfilm for the final time to filter and taste. The liquid had lost a fair bit of it’s volume due to evaporation, so in went the remainig bottle of 40% vodka – this instantly removed the bitterness of the concentrated Gin. It’s hard to explain but the remaining liquid felt stronger than the liquid that went in in the first place.
Once all the botanicals had been removed and the extra vodka was added, small particles could still be seen remain. We decided to strain further using coffee machine filter papers. This process took hours. Upon completing the first few filtrations we observed liquid was being lost through evaporation so we rebottled with the decision to reconvene at the wedding venue. Within three hours further sediment had settled in the newly bottled Gin so we filtered again before leaving overnight. Another 12 hours, and more sediment. We completed a final filtration which resulted in an orange but significantly clearer liquid.
The Gin tasted great for a first attempt, the ginger and the lemon worked so well together. It was almost like Thai cuisine but minus the spice. When Fever-Tree and lime were added, it was transformed into a very refreshing and what would be a perfect Summer drink.
Squirrel: Gin Club