DIY Gin & Tonic

Make summer’s favourite cocktail your very own with these bespoke ideas

Before you start, assemble your ingredients. Dan Toulgoet photo

Gin is unlike any other spirit. Simply put, gin is a distilled grain mash that produces a neutral alcohol or vodka. The spirit is then redistilled with botanicals, herbs and spices to achieve the final product. It doesn’t rely on aging in oak barrels like whisky, and it doesn’t rely on one agricultural product to achieve its flavour, like agave for tequila. The infusion process will determine the flavour profile of each gin.

In other words, gin is essentially a botanical-flavoured vodka. And that means, even though not very many of us will ever have access to a still, we can make our own quality gins by working with infusions.

Except for juniper, which all gins must have, there are no rules on the amount or the types of “flavour” that a distiller or gin maker can use. With some quick research you will find many common ingredients used by distillers, but it is the type, the amount, and what they leave out that creates the artist’s expression.

In these pages, I will show you some simple ways you can achieve a quality gin all on your own. I will also show you some unique ingredients that will produce gins with spectacular colour and vibrancy that will go way beyond anything Miss Hannigan could ever concoct in her bathtub. And for our spirit-free friends who still love the flavour of a good Gin and Tonic, I will show you a simple gin syrup bound to quench your thirst.


Gather the ingredients:

• 1 bottle (750 mL) good vodka
• 3 Tbsp juniper berries
• 1 Tbsp coriander seeds

Choose your flavour:

• 10 dried butterfly pea flowers
• 2 dried makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
• Peel of 1 mandarin orange (white pith removed)
• 3 slices fresh ginger root
• 2 slivers licorice root

• 1 tsp dried lemon balm
• 5 cracked cardamom seeds
• Peel of 1 lemon (pith removed)
• 1 tsp burdock root
• 2 slivers licorice root
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• 1 sprig fresh oregano

How to make gin at home

1. In a sterilized 4-cup (1 L) mason jar, add the vodka, juniper berries and coriander. Seal the jar and let rest for 24 hours. Dan Toulgoet photo

2. Open jar and add remaining ingredients. Let rest for another 24 hours. Dan Toulgoet photo

3. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter to remove suspended particles. Pour liquid into a sterilized 750 mL bottle. Dan Toulgoet photo

4. Seal with a tight-fitting lid and label. The gins will keep in a cool, dark place for several months. Dan Toulgoet photo

Make these creative takes on the classic G&T with your newly-infused gin. 
Royal Gin & Tonic
La Bicicletta Gin & Tonic

—by Justin Taylor


You may also like