After posting my Tribute to the Queen Gin blend, I realised that I hadn’t yet shared my favourite ‘go-to’ Citrus Spice Gin blend that is a variation on a traditional London Dry Gin blend.
There are so many different variations of a London Dry Gin that my first step was to find out exactly what a London Dry Gin was.
London dry gin doesn’t have to come from London, it’s a style rather than a place with a legal definition. It has to be made by distilling natural botanicals using neutral alcohol of 96% ABV. Nothing can be added after distillation except water. It has to have a minimum strength of 37.5% alcohol.
Of course to be classified as a gin at all it must include the characteristic aroma and flavour of the juniper berry. Beyond that it seems that anything goes in blending your particular signature gin blend. Gordon’s gin has 5 botanical ingredients (juniper, coriander, cassia, ginger and nutmeg) whereas The Botanist has 31 and Monkey 47 has 47 different botanicals!
When you are making a small batch of gin (starting with 1L neutral spirit) a standard pouch of botanical ingredients will weigh around 30-35g. Some of the botanicals are used in very small amounts: 100th the amount of juniper, so it is important to get yourself a set of scales that measure down to fractions of a gram.
This is my basic blend:
14g juniper berries
7g coriander seeds
2g angelica root
2g liquorice root
2-3g citrus peel
1g cubeb berries (similar to peppercorns, with a citrus flavour)
0.5g orris root
The botanicals are tied up in a muslin pouch that is placed in the neck of the column so that the alcohol passes through the pouch during the distillation process.
I have been experimenting with different amounts of citrus and using all lemon, all lime, all sweet navel orange or a mix of the different citrus peels and changing up the amount of cardamon. I love the fresh spicy flavour that to me epitomizes what a gin should taste like. And I love that I can use citrus peel and coriander seed from my own garden. Wonders: can I grow juniper and cardamon?
But I can’t get too set in my ways – it is definitely time to experiment with different flavours.