Sometimes, if you listen closely, the Universe will speak to you. A few weeks ago, the Universe told me to make gin. And I think you should too.
I was reading a blog post on Eater.com about how Betony, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan, was offering gin and tonics with house infused, made-to-order gin. “How cool!” I thought. Then I watched this step-by-step video and realized that the Betony gin infusion takes only a minute and a half (!!)
I started researching the different botanicals in gin. Clearly, there is juniper. But, what else? Every brand of gin has its own proprietary botanical blend. The very first site I happened upon called for juniper, coriander, lemon peel, cardamon, cassia and angelica. Holy moly! Stop the presses. I had all of those ingredients. For the first time ever (and probably never again) I actually had cassia and angelica in my kitchen. The cassia had been a gift from a friend who had been house sitting. The angelica came to me by way of CSA- when it arrived I didn’t even know what it was (but I do now!) It was a clear sign that I was supposed to make gin.
Clearly, you could just buy gin. But this is so fun and easy. If you can boil water, you can make this. You start with vodka, and add in botanicals to take the neutral vodka base and tailor it to your tastes.
note: other than juniper, which is the one defining botanical in gin, the variations and possibilities are limitless. Feel free to color outside the lines and come up with your own botanical melange. The recipe that follows is just one iteration of countless combinations that I tried.
note 2: using an immersion circulator to achieve an exact water temperature will result in a slightly more refined gin. That said, the simmer-on-the-stove method yields excellent results too. If you are using the stove method, use your tongs keep the bag in the center of the pot- don’t let it touch the side of the pot, it could melt a hole in the bag.
yield: serves one
equipment: immersion circulator (optional), tongs, strainer
60 ml (2 oz) vodka
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1-inch piece cassia root or cinnamon stick
2 pieces long pepper or 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-inch piece angelica or 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1-inch piece lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon green cardamon pods
1.Heat up water– If you have an immersion circulator, bring your water bath to 176 fahrenheit. Alternatively, fill a small pot 1/4 full of water and bring to a gentle simmer.
2.Prepare ice bath and put vodka and all botanicals in a sealable bag.
3.Steep bag for 1 1/2 minutes in water bath when it has reached the correct temperature.
4.Chill bag in ice bath. Strain and serve! (see G & T recipe below)
The Taste: My gin had really pretty spicy notes from the cassia and long pepper. I think this homemade gin is ideally suited for a gin and tonic, which will really highlight the botanicals you’ve chosen.
The Process: This really couldn’t be easier.
The Verdict: What a fun party trick! Every person that has walked in my door for the past 3 weeks has had one of these. I predict that this will continue throughout the Summer…
GIN AND TONIC
Option 1: 60ml (2oz) gin + 120ml tonic water (4oz) + lime wedge I like tonics that aren’t super sweet- Fever Tree and Q Tonic are good options.
Option 2: 60 ml (2 oz) + 20ml (.75oz) tonic syrup + 120ml (4oz) soda water + lime wedge I love the Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic Syrup– it’s not very sweet and makes one mean G and T. I always have soda water or seltzer in the house, so having a bottle of the tonic syrup, means I don’t need to worry if my tonic has gone flat.
Take time to measure, and make sure to fill your glass with ice. Enjoy!