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Botanicals for Gin

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  • Dick
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2002
      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
      group.

      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
      neutral spirit.

      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.

      Results:

      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.

      Conclusions:
      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.
      --
      Dick
      Fra' Auld Reekie
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