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How to Make Your Own Gin at Home With a DIY Gin Kit

S.P. Greaney loves trying new drink recipes and DIY drink kits.

Learn how to make gin at home from a kit.

Learn how to make gin at home from a kit.

DIY Gin Kit

There are many brands of gin kits on the market—and yet many of them look to be very similar.

I decided to test one of the gin kits I had seen advertised on Amazon. It seemed like it would be an interesting project to see if you could turn vodka into gin. Each kit said you only need to add vodka to get homemade gin—and that it didn't even need to be a branded vodka.

The kit I purchased through Amazon was priced at the lower price point, coming in at under £10. The kit contained an instruction book, a mixture of botanicals, juniper berries, a pipette and a cotton filter.

This is the gin kit I choose to make my homemade gin. There are lots of other brands on the market.

This is the gin kit I choose to make my homemade gin. There are lots of other brands on the market.

Necessary Items

  • 1 bottle (or glass container with a lid)
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 measuring jug
  • 700 ml vodka (any brand)
  • 1 DIY gin kit
  • 1 elastic band
The kit contains juniper berries, botanicals, a cotton filter and a pipette.

The kit contains juniper berries, botanicals, a cotton filter and a pipette.

Step 1: Wash and Sterilize the Bottle or Container

  1. Thoroughly wash your bottle or the container that you plan to use in hot soapy water.
  2. Next you need to sterilize the bottle or the container using a sterilizing method that you like. You might decide to do hot wash in the dishwasher method, or you could place the clean wet container in the oven for 15 minutes or soak it in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Note: The gin kit instruction booklet does not suggest that you need to sterilize your container. But if you want to ensure that your container is thoroughly clean, then this is a good idea to sterilize it.

Step 2: Make the Gin

I decided to make two different versions of gins.

  • Version 1 (7-Day Ferment): In the first version I only used 500 ml of vodka but I followed the directions in the booklet exactly as they suggested. All it did was reduce the measurement of the ingredients down.
  • Version 2 (12-Day Ferment): In the next version I used the remaining 200 ml of gin but I decided to expand the fermenting time. I decided that I would leave the juniper berries and the botanicals in the gin a little longer than what was suggested to see if it would turn out any differently.
Juniper berries added to the vodka

Juniper berries added to the vodka

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)

These are the instructions for the first batch, which was made using 500 ml of vodka.

  1. I added 2 tablespoons of juniper berries to the 500 ml of vodka and then I let them sit in the vodka for 3 days.
  2. On the 4th day, I added another 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.
  3. On the 7th day, my gin was ready to be filtered.
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Total time: This version took a total of 7 days to make from start to finish.

Botanicals added to gin.

Botanicals added to gin.

Version 2 (12-Day Ferment)

This is what I did with the remaining 200 ml of vodka.

  1. Add the remaining juniper berries, which should come to about 1 teaspoon to the 200 ml of vodka and let them sit in the vodka for 6 days.
  2. 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 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.

Color comparison between gin 1 which is ready to drink and gin 2 that has another 6 days to ferment.

Color comparison between gin 1 which is ready to drink and gin 2 that has another 6 days to ferment.

Step 3: Filter the 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.

  1. Secure the cotton filter to the measuring jug with an elastic band.
  2. Slowly pour the vodka onto the mesh.
  3. 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.
  4. Once all of the liquid has been poured into the measuring jug, you can dump the juniper berries and the botanicals.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
How to filter homemade gin

How to filter homemade gin

Notes About Filtering

  1. 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.
  2. On day three when it came time to add the botanical to the 500 ml 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.
Comparison of color of the two gins side by side. The 500ml of gin in the bottle did not change color until the lemonade and ice was added.

Comparison of color of the two gins side by side. The 500ml of gin in the bottle did not change color until the lemonade and ice was added.

How Did My Two Versions Compare?

Version 1 (7-Day Ferment)

  • This version tasted a bit more like actual real gin compared to the 200 ml version and that is probably because most of the ingredients went into this one.
  • This also came way darker compared to the 200 ml 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 500 ml version are both drinkable.
  • This version didn't darken as much as the 500 ml considering I left the juniper berries and botanicals in it for 7 days longer. That's probably because there was less in it.

Final Thoughts

  • 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

Ingredients in well known brands of gin.
Source: Manufacturers website.

BrandIngredients

Hendrick's Gin

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

Plymouth Gin

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

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