Can You Make Gin at Home (Crafting Homemade Gin Simplified)

Distilling your own spirit can be a fun activity to do and can be a serious hobby. If done well, you may even make money out of it. Of all spirits, gin may be the easiest to make since you do not need to age them. However, can you make gin at home? How legal is home distilling? 

You can make gin at home with the right tools and knowledge. This is because if not done properly, your gin may become poisonous and kill or cause you to go blind. If you intend to sell your gin, you must have the right licensing, depending on where you live. 

This article explores if you can make your gin at home and the potential legal issues you may need to deal with. We then look into how you can make your gin before discussing if you can sell the gin you made.

Can You Make Gin At Home?

You can, technically, make gin at home with the right tools and knowledge. The easiest way to make gin at home is to use plain Vodka as base alcohol and then infuse it with botanicals. You then remove the botanicals before bottling them.

Technically, you can make gin at home easily and quickly. This is because gin does not require you to perform complicated processes such as aging.

You may approach the gin-making process in two major ways, depending on your technical ability and knowledge of distilling:

Make It From Scratch

If you are the kind that wants to make something completely from scratch, then you can explore this option. 

To make your gin from scratch, you will need to perform the following steps:

Make Your Base Alcohol: You start by making your own base alcohol. You will look for a starter, such as grain or barley. You ferment the starter with yeast to produce a mash. Then you take the mash and distill it using a still to produce your base alcohol.

Infuse The Botanicals: Once you have your base alcohol, you can then steep your botanicals into it. This infuses the flavors from the botanicals into the alcohol and turns it into gin. After removing the botanicals, you can clean up the gin and remove all impurities.

Diluting: You can now add water or some sweetener to your gin. It is common to dilute your gin down to around 40% Alcohol By Volume (ABV), although some may do lower or higher. You can also add some sugar during this stage if you like your gin a little sweeter.

Use Plain Vodka As Base Alcohol

If you are not as technically inclined, you can consider this option. With this method, you use a regular plain vodka as your base alcohol and immediately steep your botanicals into it. 

This means you do not need to do any distilling, fermenting, or diluting work, significantly making the process easier. 

Infusion: Once you pour your Vodka into a container, you can infuse your botanicals with it. After some time, you can then remove all the botanicals. The key to this process is to know when to remove the botanicals, as too much flavoring can make your gin taste too strong. 

Filtering: Once you have removed the botanicals, you can remove impurities from your gin. You can use a fine mesh filter or a muslin cloth. If you want clean filtering work, you can redistill the gin, although this may not be necessary. 

Is It Legally Allowed To Make Gin At Home?

It may be legal or illegal to make gin at home, depending on where you live and why you are making it. For example, making gin at home for personal consumption is usually legal in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, you must apply for a permit if you intend to sell them.

If you are wondering about the legalities of making your gin, here’s the answer – it depends. 

In many places, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, you may make gin at home in small amounts for personal consumption. However, if you sell your gin, you may need to apply for a permit. 

In the United States, this may require you to contact the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). You may need to discuss this in the UK with the His Majesty Revenue And Customs.

For other countries, the rules may be different. Some countries may allow you to make your own gin at home for private consumption, while some may not even allow anything. You need to check with your local government for a clearer idea. 

What Do I Need To Make Gin At Home?

To make gin at home, you must prepare a bottle of Vodka and your blend of botanicals. You will also need a filter, such as a sieve or a muslin cloth. Some food-grade disinfectants and large mason jars may help too.

If you are new to the gin-making game, it may be a wise idea to take the second approach: using plain Vodka as your base alcohol. This is because you spare yourself the technical work and the need to get things such as a still. 

You also avoid the potential danger of accidentally adding dangerous compounds such as methanol into your gin. 

To make gin at home using plain Vodka, you only need to prepare the following:

1 liter (about 34 fl oz) of good quality Vodka: The Vodka should be unflavored and filtered to be neutral in taste.

Blend Of Botanicals: You may experiment with the botanicals you enjoy with your gin, but we recommend you start with the list in the next part of this article

Glass Mason Jars: Glass jars are good for holding alcohol, as they would not impart any taste to the Vodka. Metal containers may introduce a metallic taste to the Vodka at times.

Filter: Depending on your preference, you may use a sieve or a muslin cloth if you prefer to be more thorough with the filtering work. The key is to remove the impurities for a clear gin.

Food-Grade Disinfectants: You will use this to clean your mason jars to ensure no residue or oils. These may end up in your gin, messing with the taste later.

What Kind Of Botanicals Can I Use For My Gin?

Some of the botanicals you may use to make your gin include:

  • Juniper berries
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Cardamom Pods
  • Peppercorns
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Dried Orange Peel
  • Dried Lemon Peel

The nice thing about gin is you can use any botanicals you prefer. However, as a start, we recommend you start with the following. The portion below is suitable for making 1 liter of gin. If you are making a larger batch, consider adjusting the number of botanicals.

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Juniper Berries: Juniper berries are the main character in many gins and should form the base of the botanicals. If you enjoy the juniper taste, feel free to add more to your botanical mix.

1 ¼ Coriander Seeds: Look for whole seeds instead of crushed or blended ones.

2 Cardamom Pods: If you enjoy more cardamom warmth in your gin, add another pod to your botanical mix. 

2 Peppercorns: Peppercorns help to introduce some dry finish and some slight burn to your throat as you swallow the gin. If you enjoy that, feel free to add more peppercorns.

¾ Cinnamon Stick: Regular-sized cinnamon sticks will do. Cut out about ¼, and use the rest whole. 

A Small Piece of Dried Orange Peel: Ensure to remove the white pith, as it may cause your gin to taste very bitter.

A Small Piece Of Dried Lemon Peel: Like orange peel, remove the white pith to avoid making your gin too bitter.

Aside from these botanicals, you can also consider adding more botanicals to gin. Some of these botanicals may be harder to find. Still, they are staples in many popular gin brands, which means they will bring your gin closer to the taste of your favorite gin. 

Some of these botanicals include: 

  • Angelica roots
  • Licorice
  • Cassia
  • Orris Root
  • Nutmeg
  • Cubeb Berries
  • Ginger

How To Make Gin At Home?

To make gin at home, you:

  • Clean a mason jar
  • Add in the botanicals
  • Pour in the Vodka
  • Allow steeping in cool, dark places for 24 hours. 
  • Remove the botanicals using a filter
  • Remove finer impurities with a muslin cloth or coffee filter.
  • Allow sitting for a few days for any remaining sediments to settle. 
  • Enjoy!

If you use Vodka as the base alcohol to make your gin, it is a rather simple process. The key is to ensure you implement the steps carefully.

  1. Clean The Botanicals: Rinse your botanicals with water to remove any fine dust or particles. This prevents your gin from having too many impurities later. Leave the botanicals in to open air to dry.
  2. Prepare the Mason Jar: Start disinfecting your glass mason jar using the food-grade disinfectant. Then rinse with boiling water to remove any remaining residue and oil. 
  3. Add The Botanicals To Jar: Add your botanicals to the mason jar, minus the orange and lemon peel. Ensure the botanicals are dry before adding them because the additional liquid may dilute your gin. 
  4. Top Up With Vodka. Now pour in your Vodka. Pour slowly to avoid splashing the spirit too much.
  5. Leave To Infuse: Close the lid of your mason jar, and move it to a cool dark place for 24 hours. This allows the botanicals to infuse its flavor into the Vodka, turning it into gin. 
  6. Taste: At this point, your gin should taste rather juniper-heavy. The first tasting is to confirm the botanicals are working well with your gin. 
  7. Add In Lemon And Orange Peel: If you are happy with the taste of your gin, give your mason jar a gentle shake or a soft tip over once. Then add in the lemon and orange peel. 
  8. Infuse Further: Allow the gin to be inside for another 24 hours with the botanicals.
  9. Taste Again And Decide: Give your gin a taste, and decide if you like the taste. If not, allow it to steep for another few hours, and try the gin again. The key is to avoid oversteeping, as the gin may taste too strong.
  10. Filter: Like how divine your gin tastes? Time to remove the botanicals. Remove the larger botanicals, such as cinnamon sticks or lemon and orange peels. Clean another mason jar, and place a filter on top of it. Slowly pour the gin from your old mason jar into the new one. This should filter out the smaller impurities. 
  11. Further Filtering If Needed: If you need to filter your gin further, you can repeat the process. Use a finer filter, such as a mesh sieve or muslin cloth. 
  12. Let the Gin Sit For 24 Hours: Some believe the gin tastes better if you let it sit for a bit after infusion. However, the main goal here is to allow the fine particles inside the gin to settle on the bottom of the mason jar. Sit the gin in a cool, dry, and dark place.
  13. Pour Out Slowly: Pour out the gin slowly into another clean mason jar to avoid disturbing the particles at the bottom of the jar. 
  14. Enjoy: At this point, your gin should be ready to drink. Pour yourself some gin, and enjoy your work!

Your gin should be slightly drier, as no sweetener is added. This means your gin would taste closer to the traditional London Dry Gin such as Gordon’s or Tanqueray. If you prefer a sweeter gin, feel free to add some white sugar syrup to the gin to make it slightly sweeter.

Final Thoughts

While distilling your own spirits, particularly gin can be a fun and rewarding activity, it is important to understand the potential legal implications and safety precautions that come with it.

With the proper knowledge and tools, you can make your own gin at home, but be sure to follow all necessary steps and regulations to ensure a safe and legal product. And if you plan on selling your homemade gin, be sure to obtain the appropriate licensing in your area.

So go ahead and indulge in the art of crafting your own gin, but always prioritize safety and legality in your pursuits.

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