Botanicals for Gin
- Continuing my search for a flavouring to match the perfect (a.k.a. Plymouth)
Gin I thought the results of a couple of my trials might be of interest to the
1. Roughly following the recipe in John Stone's 'Making Gin & Vodka' &
using the following ingredients:
35gm dried juniper berries
1gm cinnamon bark
1gm orris root powder
1gm cardamom seeds
1gm dried angelica root
1gm dried cassia*
zest of ½ lemon
I finely ground the dry ingredients in a coffee mill and added them + lemon
zest to 350ml cold water & left to steep for 48hrs. I repeated the above
procedure with the same ingredients but steeped the 2nd batch in 50% ABV
After 48hrs I distilled both batches in my botanical still, collecting only the 1st
70ml in both runs as I was only primarily interested in the most volatile oils.
Batch 1 - Water Steep
Initially a slightly cloudy/milky liquid that separated out to what appeared to
be an oil/water mix (emulsion) on top of clear liquid (water??) - not very
attractive looking & something I'd be reluctant to put in any gin I proposed
drinking !!!! Although not initially smelling strongly of juniper the liquid smell
did intensify a little as the mixture separated out. However it was not the
intense juniper aroma I was looking for.
Batch 2 - 50% ABV Steep
A clear liquid with a very strong juniper aroma.
As I was loath to loose the results of Batch 1 I mixed both Batches up with
more 50%ABV and redistilled, collecting the 1st 3 x 70ml to come over.
Adding 5ml from each 70ml to 1l of gin made up using gin essence produced
a super 'junipery' gin !!
*cassia angustifolia is not the cinnamonium cassia (Chinese cinnamon)
required to flavour gin. Cassia angustifolia is better known senna, however
I'm pleased to report that using it by mistake in a gin flavouring didn't seem to
produce the traditional results !!!!!!!
2. Taking the 3 x 70ml samples I produced above I added 3 drops of each
to neutral spirit of various % ABV. From 93% - 49% ABV the drops dispersed
and left a crystal clear liquid. At 42% ABV drops from the first sample
produced what looked like 'specks' or very small droplets in the clear alcohol
but this quickly dispersed on shaking, the drops from the 2nd & 3rd samples
seemed to have no effect. At 38% ABV drops from the 1st sample turned the
clear spirit slightly (& permanently) milky. At 36 %ABV the clear spirit turned
definitely & permanently cloudy. All these check were carried out at 16°C
This last sample cleared on warming to 45° C but turned cloudy again on
cooling back to 16° C.
1. If you're making gin botanicals use a neutral spirit to steep the ingredients
rather than water.
2. If you add gin botanicals (almost certainly predominantly juniper oil) to <
42%ABV spirit you possibly run the risk of clouding the spirit.
3. Make sure you get the right cassia.
Fra' Auld Reekie