One of my favourite things about making foraged gin drinks from locally found ingredients is that you can not only drink the seasons but you can design drinks that represent an area or even a moment in time. Last year I was fortunate enough to travel around the entirety of the British Isles by boat. On the islands that we stopped off on I picked plenty of aromatic plants. It was early Autumn and the diversity of plants available differed immensely from the north to the south of the country, it was like picking across two or even three seasons with plants in the very North of Scotland only just coming into flower compared to going to seed in the South.
I then made gin from these ingredients, I finished off the last of the bottle last week and with each waft of the aroma coming from the gin I was able to recall different aspects of my island adventures. It was like having a time machine in a glass, a magical experience and a magical drink!
You can use any fragrant herbs, flowers & spices in your gin.
These ingredients will work well, but are meant as a guide. They will give you an idea of how to make gin and with a few tweaks here and there you can make gin ideal for your taste alone.
750ml Vodka (preferably 50% ABV)
2 tablespoons juniper berries (more if you like Juniper forward gin)
a few springs of lemon balm
a few sprigs of curry plant
¾ teaspoon coriander
4 cardamom pods
1 torn bay leaf
A small sprig of lavender
A larger sprig of rosemary
A small piece of dried grapefruit peel (no pith)
A small piece of dried lemon peel (no pith)
You can use any fragrant herbs, flowers & spices in your gin. A mixture of mints, or simple clover are examples that are used in The Botanist Gin. Once you’ve got the base, you could do different batches with whatever you have to hand and see how it turns out.
Place all of your ingredients into a cream whipper and top up with vodka. Add a canister of nitrous oxide and leave for 3 minutes, add another canister and shake. Discharge, filter and serve.
Kilner jar method
Crush the juniper berries a little to help release the aromatics and place them inside your mason jar. Pour over the vodka and seal. Leave for 12 hours.
Taste your vodka, it should now be taking on the characteristics of gin. That strong juniper flavour should have infused nicely. If not, then add more juniper berries and leave for a further 12 hours. The amount of flavour extraction is going to depend on how fresh your juniper berries are. If you are happy with the level of juniper then filter your vodka.
Place all of your botanicals into the mason jar. Top up with the juniper-infused vodka and leave for a further 36 hours.
Filter your gin back into the vodka bottle and re-label with something personal like, “221b Baker Street Gin”. You may notice that the gin has gone the colour of bathtub gin as in, yellow, don’t worry this won’t affect the flavour. It’s because it’s not be filtered as much a normal gin has.