Unless you have been living under a rock these past few years you will have noticed that gin has undergone a revolution recently. What was once the choice of seamen and fallen women is very much the spirit à la mode. And don’t just take our word for it. The statistics don’t lie; sales of gin have increased in the past five years by over 50 million bottles in the UK alone and there are now over 300 gin distillers in the country (compared to just 37 in 2010). That’s without mentioning all the gin bars, gin hotels and a host of other gin-credible places that are springing up everywhere from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
But why such a boom? Well, other than the fact that gin cocktails are of course delicious, here at Neat & Shaken we think that the ascent of flavoured gin could be partly to blame (or thank). Creative distillers are breaking the mould these days with their unusual gin creations: we love Greenall’s Fig and Orange elixir and BLOOM's Jasmine and Rose floral perfection.
But is this a case of flavoured gin being a victim of its own success? With a constant stream of new flavours being added to the market every day, we are confronted with a huge spectrum selection. And such a choice begs a question: What exactly is flavoured gin? And while we’re at it, how is it made?
Flavoured Gin makes Modern Drinks for the Modern Drinker
It is important to remember that In order for a spirit to be labelled as gin, the predominant flavour must be juniper. But unless you’re a sailor in the 18th century the taste is a bit harsh for modern palettes, hence the addition of herbs and botanicals such as angelica root. coriander, cardamom and anise to the neutral spirit. Fast forward to the 21st century and clever gin distillers have taken the idea a little further and added a further layer of flavour to jazz up our gin. Think anything from chilli and lime to toffee and coffee via fruit, floral and even savoury tastes.
These flavoured gins appeal to a younger generation of gin-drinkers. Blending the classic taste of juniper berries and other botanicals that make up the taste of traditional gin with seasonal fruit, flavoured gins offer a creative twist on the classic G&T. Innovative, different and quite frankly delicious, these types of gin have fast become the nation’s favourite tipple. And we’ll raise a glass to that!
How to make Flavoured Gin at Home
One of the beautiful things about these fruity, floral and flavoured gins is that you can make them yourself. Use juicy blueberries, tangy rhubarb or sweetly scented strawberries to make a pink gin with a difference or why not get extra jiggy with it and add beautiful botanicals, herbs and spices to G&T that you won’t forget in a hurry.
If you don’t know where to start, fear not. Take inspiration from brands such as Ophir’s travel-inspired range or BLOOM's devotion to all things delicate. Hang on to that taste of summer with a raspberry gin, drink in the taste of winter with a sloe gin or make it a year-round tipple by adding seasonal fruit and spices (chocolate flavoured Easter gin anyone?). Add some exotic spices or citrus tastes for an extra bit of va va voom, add mixer and enjoy.
So, if you fancy your chances at becoming a master distiller, then use our quick and easy-to-follow recipe and let nature do the rest.
Do try this at home!
We like red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb or even blueberries to make a luscious pink gin, but don’t be afraid to experiment with citrus fruits such as blood oranges, organic lemons or limes (or a mixture of all three!) to really make something both special and unique. All you have to do is top with tonic. Cheers!
- 350g seasonal fruit
- 150g castor sugar
- 700ml bottle of London Dry Gin
- Rinse the fruit thoroughly, making sure you have removed any stems.
- Pat the fruit dry using a paper towel to remove any excess water.
- Place the fruit delicately into a 1,5 litre sterilised jar. It is important to be gentle here, as any bruising will affect the taste of the finished product.
- Add the sugar. Please only use white sugar as brown sugar will affect the colour!
- Slowly pour in the gin and swirl until all the sugar has dissolved.
Now the waiting game begins. Be patient! We promise it’s worth it.
- Store your soon-to-be flavoured gin in a cool, dark place, remembering to turn the jar every day for a week.
- After 2-3 weeks (depending on how strong you like your flavour), strain the liquid into a bottle using a clean sieve. Note that strong flavours such as citrus take less time to infuse, so don’t be afraid to taste your tipple from time to time.
- Don't be surprised if you see the colour fade over time. This is completely natural and won’t affect the taste.
- Add mixer, ice cubes, garnish, a few friends and enjoy!
Finally, do you want our top tip on what to do with all that leftover boozy fruit? Why not make it into puddings, biscuits or cakes, or add it to some melted chocolate for a dessert that will take you from zero to hero in no time. Or if the weather’s right, treat yourself to a boozy fruit granita or sorbet that will quench both your thirst and give your summer picnics a little ooh la la.