Friday, October 31, 2008

Juniper Gin

Dating as far back as the early 1900s, making your own gin, as it turns out, was never really something that was hard to do. Perfect example, your average, everyday Prohibition Era bathtub gin.

Actually, there are several different methods and the simplest (also the one that does not include a complicated vapor infusion) is no more difficult than making iced tea: Soak juniper berries (available in the spice aisle of most major supermarkets and grocery stores) and a handful of other spices in a neutral spirit (vodka), then strain and enjoy. You’ll end up with an unclarified, rustic version of London’s finest.

Below is a recipe that a fellow blogger friend of mine is excited about. Its complexity rivals the finest gins on the market, some of which cost four times as much as a lowly bottle of vodka.

To find a recipe that works best for your taste, try adding different aromatics for different lengths of time. Just remember: It's not really gin... without the juniper.

1 (750ml) bottle of inexpensive vodka
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 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1 (2-inch-long) fresh lemon or lime peel
1 (1-inch) sprig fresh lavender

Infuse juniper 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 start making your favorite gin cocktails

Finding juniper berries online can be even simpler. For example, try here for one of several online sites that sell them at reasonable prices.

And don't forget: They can also be a terrific spice compliment to roast porks and lambs.

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