My favorite bartender/mixologist/drink blogger Jefferey Morgenthaler has written a number of excellent articles about making your own cocktail compounds, such as homemade tonic and grenadine. I recently dug up this oldie but goodie on making gin in your kitchen by infusing neutral spirits or vodka with juniper berries and other spices.
…what many people don’t realize is that gin and vodka begin life in the exact same way. You could even say that gin is nothing more than infused vodka. In fact, I’ve used this exact line on so many customers trying gin for the first time that I’ve decided to prove it to myself! What a better way to waste a bunch of time and ingredients while getting an opportunity to learn more about my favorite mixable spirit, right?
Instead of heading down the path of illegal distillation, Jefferey’s infusion method relies on a simple, cheap, and effective charcoal filter in the form of a Brita water pitcher to clarify the spirit. Here’s the ingredient list:
1 750mL bottle 100-proof vodka
1 750mL bottle 80-proof vodka
20 grams dried juniper berries (about ¼ cup)
8 grams whole coriander, crushed (about 2 tbsp.)
2 grams dried orange peel (about 1½ tsp.)
2 grams dried lemon peel (about 1 tsp.)
3 grams whole cinnamon (about 1 stick)
1 whole cardamom pod, crushed
The method is dead easy: crush up the berries, citrus peels, and spices, macerate them in a bottle of 100-proof vodka for a week, add the bottle of 80-proof vodka, strain it, then filter it five times through the Brita. I can’t wait to give it a try. Let us know in the comments if you try it out, and what kind of variations you experiment with.