Wondering what to buy for a gin fan that isn’t just gin? Well how about a Make Your Own Gin kit for a more interesting gin-related gift? I received the “Do Your Gin” kit for a Christmas present and as I have recently been trying it out, I wanted to share my thoughts.
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What Does the Do Your Gin Kit Contain?
If you didn’t already know, gin can be made by adding botanicals to a clear neutral alcohol such as vodka. Vodka itself is not included in the kit, so that’s something extra you’ll have to buy. I went for the highly rated but reasonably priced Saint Gérmont Premium French Vodka from Aldi and it has worked well.
Aside from the base alcohol, the Do Your Gin kit includes everything else you’ll need:
- 2 glass bottles with labels
- Funnel and paper filters
- 3 test tubes of juniper berries – the main characteristic flavour in gin
- Test tubes containing a range of other botanicals
- A recipe card, basic instructions and a guide to the botanicals in the kit
- Additional paper labels to use on your bottles to remind yourself which ingredients were used on each batch
There are just 3 test tubes of juniper berries in the set, which is enough for 3 bottles of gin at most, but there is no reason these test tubes couldn’t be refilled over and over, extending the life of the kit to way beyond 3 bottles.
And one thing I love about this particular gin-making kit is that the packaging is fuss free, plastic free and completely recyclable. The only branding is on the slim paper wrap!
How To Make Your Own Gin
I played it safe with my first gin-making session, and followed one of the recipes included in the kit – “The Colourful”. I didn’t know what quantities and flavours would work best, so I think it’s great for a complete newbie to have these recipes as options.
And one thing to note – this is not a one session project. It actually takes at least a day to make your gin, and probably more like 3 days. So bear this in mind when planning your gin making sessions.
I crushed 1 tube’s worth of juniper berries with a pestle and mortar to release their flavour. This is an optional step, but I like the flavour of classic gin so went for it. I then added these into 1 of the glass bottles and filled the bottle with vodka. I then set this aside for 1 day to infuse.
After 24 hours I added in my additional botanicals for flavour and colour. Following my recipe I added 1 green cardamom pod, 1/4 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp dried orange peel, a dash of lavender, and 1 tsp dried hibiscus flowers to the bottle. And then I set this aside for another 24 hours.
After another day my gin had turned a lovely shade of pink-purple, which I guess is why they named this recipe “The Colourful”. I used the funnel and 1 paper filter to strain my gin into the second glass bottle, and as per the advice in the kit, I left this to develop for another 12 hours at least. This is an optional but recommend wait, and I wanted my gin to taste its best!
Then finally my gin was ready to sample over ice and with tonic.
My first bottle of gin not only looks pretty, but it also tastes great too! Definitely no sign of the vodka base – the flavours are full and strong. It is a great fruity/floral one to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
Thoughts on the Do Your Gin kit
I really enjoyed my first gin-making sessions (and also the results of these sessions!) It’s not a difficult process, but an interesting one, and one that offers unlimited creativity. I stuck to a suggested recipe on the first go, and from this I have some ideas of what to try next. And as the instructions suggest, I am not limited to the botanicals in the kit – I could also use things like rosemary, ginger or lemon peel, or hunt down some of the flavours in my favourite gins Hendricks and Bloom.
I love that the set has a science-y vibe to it. It definitely feels like experimental chemistry or a Harry Potter potions class measuring ingredients from test tubes and adding them to bottles of vodka. And I also love that everything from the juniper berries and botanicals to the paper filters can be replenished, so the lifetime of the set can be extended for as long as it is being enjoyed!
I haven’t tried any alternative gin-making sets, but by all accounts Do Your Gin is one of the best options out there. The only real downside is that you have to buy your own vodka, but this is true for every set on the market. It made a fun and unusual gift, and at the end of it I still got to drink a delicious G&T, so I would highly recommend Do Your Gin as an alternative gift for a true gin-lover.