We Tried It: HomeMade Gin Kit
If you're looking for that perfect holiday gift for the DIY drinker, make-your-own-booze kits are a great way to go.
Even if you want to try your own hand at making spirits, there's a kit for just about anything, so pick your poison!
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As a fan of gin martinis, I was beyond excited to give the HomeMade Gin Kit a test drive.
To be totally honest, I had no clue how gin is made, so I was hoping to learn a thing or two.
RECIPE: The Smokey And The Bandit Gin Cockail
The kit comes with two glass flasks, a strainer, funnel, two spice tins filled with dried juniper berries and botanicals, and a list of instructions — everything you need to be the master of your own distillery!
The first step was a little disappointing, which was to buy a 750 mL bottle of unflavored vodka. "If I have to buy a whole bottle of vodka, why don't I just skip the kit and buy a bottle of gin instead," I thought.
Nevertheless, I was in this all the way (and the investment already totalled the cost of a bottle of top-shelf gin), so I took the next step.
Once I had the vodka, the next step was to add the juniper berries to the bottle, shake it up, and let it sit for 24 hours.
(If you're looking for instant gratification my friends, you won't find it here.)
Good things come to those who wait.
While the instructions say to let the would-be gin sit for 24 hours, I cheated a little. The next morning I gave the vodka a sniff, and to my surprise, it smelled like ... gin! I made gin! I screwed the cap back on and waited out the remainder of the 24 hours.
The next step was to add the botanicals, which are dried herbs and berries. While the juniper berries easily funneled into the bottle, I had a tougher time with the botanicals. I had to remove the dried berries first and crushed the herbs to get them all in. While this wasn't a big deal for me, if you're not careful, you'll end up with gin and a sweet smelling countertop.
Once the botanicals were in the bottle, I closed the cap and gave the bottle another good shake. Eight hours later, my gin was ready to drink. All that was left to do was strain the gin into the flasks and ... voila!
I have to say, the homemade gin tasted darned good. While the juniper berries are what gave the vodka that distinctive gin flavor, the botanicals added some seasonal floral notes. The vodka I used was also on the sweet side, which added to the overall flavor.
My husband and I celebrated with gin and tonics that were excellent!
While the gin certainly tasted great, I can't really get over knowing it was made from a bottle of commercial vodka. I was expecting to make everything from scratch — although I imagine that would have taken a much longer time, and probably required more sophisticated knowledge and equipment. Still, the fact that you can easily make a bottle of gin from vodka is pretty cool. (TIP: You can also sassy up a bottle of vodka by flavoring it with vanilla beans, herbs, fruit or whatever floats your boat -- just add to a bottle and let it sit until it smells like it's taken on the flavor of whatever you've added). And, if you're feeling adventurous, you can experiment with a variety of botanicals to achieve a variety of different flavors.
For $50, the HomeMade Gin Kit makes a great gift for the adult do-it-yourselfer, or a personalized bottle for someone special.
(HomeMade Gin Kit)