Monday, April 13, 2009

Is it Gin or is it Vodka?

We really are just a knitting group and don't drink anything besides wine--red or white is as hard core as we get, until Emily, one of the knitters, started making her own gin. Ian's Gin Recipe was the recipe she used and the recipe she left on my counter top complete with a bottle of vodka (from which will come the gin) along with all the herbs and spices needed to make homemade gin. Now who can resist that?

And so I set out to make my own version, changing it slightly by adding some dried hot peppers.

It starts with a 750 ml bottle of vodka infused with:

2 Tbsp juniper berries
3/4 tsp coriander seed
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp fennel seed
3 green cardamom pods
2 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
1 tsp dried lavender
1 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1 (2-inch-long) fresh lemon or lime peel
3 dried Thai hot chili peppers

Infuse juniper berries in the vodka overnight. Add remaining spices and herbs in the morning and let infuse all day.

When you get home from work, strain out the botanicals and you have gin.

Now, I'm not a gin connoisseur and the only gin I've ever had is in the form of a gin and tonic during the hot summer months. Putting Emily's gin to the test, the knitters put away the wine glasses and drank home made gin and tonic. It was surprisingly good and fresh, with a slight floral bouquet and our winter weary spirits were temporarily lifted.

Did it taste like gin? I think so, but fresher and lighter. It was good in gin and tonic, as well as in a pomegranate martini, but I like it best frozen and straight up in a shot glass, like vodka, for I can't help but think of it as infused vodka .

Gin and tonic with home made gin

Here are a few other aromatics I might add when I make it again:

More hot pepper
Kaffir lime leaves
Orange peel

Have fun, and if you get a chance to play with the recipe, leave a comment below and let me know whether you think its gin or vodka and how you like to drink it.

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