S.P. Greaney loves trying new drink recipes and DIY drink kits.
DIY Gin Kit
I’ve seen a few gin kits advertised online and I wanted to see if they were any good at turning vodka into gin. Each one says that you only need to add vodka. You don't even need to use a branded vodka.
I purchased this one on Amazon, and it was priced at the lower price range coming in at under £10. The kit contained an instruction book, a mixture of botanicals, juniper berries, a pipette and a cotton filter.
- 1 bottle (or container with lid)
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 measuring jug
- 700ml vodka (any brand)
- 1 DIY gin kit
- 1 elastic band
Step 1: Prepare the Bottle
- You need to wash your bottle or your container thoroughly in hot soapy water.
- Next you need to sterilize the bottle or the container using whichever sterilizing method you like. You can do a hot wash in the dishwasher, place your clean wet container in the oven for 15 minutes or place it in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes.
Note: It doesn’t suggest sterilizing your container in the instruction booklet but if you want to ensure that your container is thoroughly clean, then this is a good idea.
Step 2: Make Your Gin
I decided to make two versions of the gins.
- Version 1: For the first one I used 500 ml of vodka and I followed the directions exactly as they suggested in the booklet but I reduced the measurement of the ingredients.
- Version 2: For the remaining 200 ml of gin I decided to expand the fermenting time of the juniper berries and the botanicals to see if it would turn out any different.
The juniper berries do not change the color of the vodka. However when you add the botanicals to the vodka mix they do change the color of the vodka within a day.
Version 1 (7-Day Ferment)
This is what I did with the first 500 ml of vodka.
- Add 2 tablespoons of juniper berries to the 500 ml of vodka and let them sit in it for 3 days.
- On the fourth day add 2 teaspoons of the botanicals to the vodka and the juniper berries mix and let all of the ingredients sit together for another 3 days.
- On the seventh day, your gin is ready to be filtered.
Total time: This version of gin takes 7 days to make.
Version 2 (12-Day Ferment)
This is what I did with the remaining 200 ml of vodka.
- Add the remaining juniper berries which should come to about 1 teaspoon to the 200ml of vodka and let them sit in the vodka for 6 days.
- On day 7 add the remaining 1 teaspoon of botanicals to the vodka and the juniper berries mix and let them sit for an additional 6 days.
Total time: This version of gin takes a whole 12 days to make.
The booklet does not tell you exactly what type of herbs and flowers are in the botanicals sachet. It's hard to know what is causing the vodka to change color.
How to Filter Your Homemade Gin
When the gin is ready to be filtered, you use the cotton filter included in the kit to strain the vodka that is now considered gin. I rinsed the filter under water first before using it.
- Secure the cotton filter to the measuring jug with an elastic band.
- Slowly pour the vodka onto the mesh.
- As you pour the vodka now considered gin through the filter, the juniper berries and the botanicals will fall out onto the top of the filter.
- Once all of the liquid has been poured into the measuring jug, you can dump the juniper berries and the botanicals.
- This is the first filter. Let the gin sit for 24 hours and then give it a second filter. Follow the same approach as above.
- You pour the gin back into your bottle and you let it sit for a further day or two. Now your gin is read to be served with ice, lemonade or tonic water and you can garnish your drink with some cucumber slices.
Notes About Filtering
- This does slightly taste like gin when it is filtered especially if you add your ice cubes, your garnish and your tonic water or lemonade.
- On day three when it came time to add the botanical to the 500ml vodka, I decided to smell and taste the vodka. The juniper berries definitely help to make the vodka taste and smell slightly of real gin. However, when I tasted it, it still had the punch of straight vodka.
How Did My Two Versions Compare?
Version 1 (7-Day Ferment)
- This version tasted a bit more like actual real gin compared to the 200ml version and that is probably because most of the ingredients went into this one.
- This also came way more darker compared to the 200ml version. Again this is probably because there were more botanicals added to this version.
Version 2 (12-Day Ferment)
- This does still taste like gin but it also still tastes a bit like vodka.
- This version and the 500ml version are both drinkable.
- Also this version didn't darken as much as the 500ml considering I left the juniper berries and botanicals in it for 7 days longer. That's probably because they were less in it.
- I think if you were to make gin from vodka at home you could buy the spices, herbs and juniper berries at a more affordable price in a shop or online.
- The homemade gin does taste very similar to real gin and I will drink it but I wouldn't use it to replace the real version of gin.
- When you smell this homemade gin after you have added the juniper berries, you can get the underlying smell of natural gin. So maybe if more juniper berries were added at stage one to the vodka it might taste a little bit more like real gin once it had finished fermenting.
- The color of the homemade gin is also slightly more yellow. Real gin is clear. I filtered the gin twice and it didn't impact the color. I let it rest for 3 days and it still remained the same color. However when I added some ice cubes and white lemonade it did slightly lighten the color.
- I think if you made it from scratch and added similar ingredients to that of a well known brand of gin, you could come up with a drinks recipe that you like.
Ingredients in Well Known Gin Brands
Exotic flowers, fruits and seeds from around the world
Beefeater Dry London Gin
Juniper, seville orange peel, bitter almonds, orris root, coriander seeds, angelica root, licorice, angelica seed, and sicilian lemon peel
Bombay Sapphire Gin
10 botanicals consisting of zesty citrus, delicate nutty oils, and rich exotic spices
Cork Dry Gin
Juniper berries, sweet and bitter orange, angelica root and other botanicals
Exotic botanicals, soft Dartmoor water and pure grain alcohol
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
Oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea
Old St Pete Gin
Botanicals, juniper, spice and the peel of oranges, lemons and grapefruits
© 2020 Sp Greaney
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on December 06, 2020:
@Edwin Alcantara. I've only seen these around online and in shops this last year. I've seen other kits for win and cider too. So it must be a something that is getting promoted this year.
@Emge, I was surprised too. I think it would be a good gift for a gin lover. It's something you get a bit of fun out of doing.
@Brenda Arledge, it is and it does take patients. Yes, I agree with you about the juniper berries. I think if the kit had another bag of them it would have made all the difference. That why I tried it too to see if it was any good.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 05, 2020:
Sounds like a lot of work and a couple of good weeks before the gin is ready to drink.
Even then it taste like vodka, so that woukd be disappointing after alll the process to make it.
I did see where the other one is better and maybe a few more berries would help.
Don't think I would try this one, but it is an excellent article.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 05, 2020:
Fascinating article. I never knew that gin could be prepared at home but I don't think I am going to try it.
Edwin Alcantara from California on December 05, 2020:
I never tried making my own gin at home before. Thanks for the info.
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on December 05, 2020:
@Adrienne Farricelli, I only came across them in the last 6 months. It's a nice fun gift for gin lovers.
@ Pamela Oglesby, that's a good plan. It's the first time I attempted it and it was a fun project to do.
@ Chitrangada Sharan, thank you. Yes, it was so interesting to see the whole process take place and taste it as I went along.
@ Gabriel Wilson, thank you. It was a bit time consuming to do but it was a fun project.
Gabriel Wilson from Madeira, Portugal on December 05, 2020:
A lot of work has been put into this very interesting article. I enjoyed reading it and enjoyed learning too. Thank you Sangre.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 04, 2020:
Nice and well explained DIY, which should make it easier for people to do it themselves at home. Good presentation and well done. Thank you for sharing.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 04, 2020:
You certainly did explain this process very well. I never considered making any alcohol at home, but considering how much we are at home, it is not a bad idea, Sp.
Adrienne Farricelli on December 04, 2020:
This is so interesting! I didn't even know you could make gin at home.
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on December 04, 2020:
@Thanks Liz Westwood. I wanted to try one of them for ages to see what all the fuss is about. It's a good kit.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 04, 2020:
I have sometimes wondered how this would turn out. You have done a thorough and well-documented trial.