If variety is the spice of life, then experimenting with different varieties of gin drinks is the spirit of our soul, here at Craft Gin Club. One fun way to experiment with gin - outside of mixing quick cocktails - is to take a little more time and infuse the gin itself with different flavours.
Okay, so the quality of the tipple is certainly not going to be at the level of the top-quality craft gins we feature in our Gin of the Month boxes - but for a bit of summer fun and to make a change from your usual G&T, why not try one of these homemade flavoured gins?
We’ve put together a guide to making homemade flavoured gin, or “ginfusions” - recipes that call for gin as their base and which you can infuse with your favourite summer fruits, amongst other ingredients, to create whole new tastes! It’s as easy as that. Bottoms up!
Isn’t gin just vodka infused with botanicals anyway?
That’s not completely untrue - there is a type of gin called “compound gin” that you can make in your kitchen with a bottle of vodka and whatever botanicals you feel like adding. But for an even easier “cheat’s” take on flavoured gin, try one of our ‘ginfusions’ below.
How do I make flavoured gin at home?
To make your homemade flavoured gin, take a sterilised (dry) jar or bottle and simply add your chosen fruit(s), herbs and/or spices to your gin and leave the mixture to infuse. It’s as easy as that!
What should the fruit (or produce)-to-gin ratio be?
There’s no rule to how much of your chosen botanical to use , although approximately a third fruit to gin is probably about right for most infusions (roughly 300g produce for 1 litre of gin).
Just remember that strong flavours like citrus peel, chilli and fresh or dried herbs tend to be quite powerful in small amounts!
How long will it take before it’s ready to drink?
The longer you leave the gin, the stronger the flavours that develop will be.
Beware of leaving it too long and over-infusing the mixture, though - in the same way that a cup of tea with the teabag left in too long can taste horrible, so too can flavoured gin!
Herbs and spices like vanilla, thyme, lavender, mint, cardamom or chilli may only need a few hours steeping in the gin, whereas fruits, strongly flavoured vegetables and berries will probably be best left for a week or two, maybe even up to a month.
So taste the gin at intervals, and once you’re happy with the flavour, filter out all the botanicals using a sieve. If there’s some sediment left in the liquid, use some muslin or a coffee filter to strain it again.
Top tip: If your gin has taken on a bit of a murky colour, you can simply pass it through a water filter jug a few times and it will emerge clearer without losing any of the flavour.
What foods can I use to infuse the gin?
We’ve made some suggestions of which foods to use for your homemade flavoured gin below, but you can be as experimental as your dare! One good way to get ideas for what to use in your ginfusion is to see what botanicals are used in your favourite shop-bought gins and see if you can emulate them at home.
The key to the best-tasting DIY flavoured gin is using quality, fresh (and ideally, seasonal) produce.
What gin should I use?
Honestly, we would definitely not use most of the beautiful craft gins we know or send to our Craft Gin Club members for this process, as the added ingredients will hide (and spoil) the distilleries’ delicate flavours. However, a bottle of decent-quality everyday gin such as Beefeater, Gordon’s or Tanqueray will do the trick. We don’t advise using a gin that’s already flavoured artificially.
It goes without saying that we don’t recommend you use the really cheap stuff, either! No amount of added fruit will rescue those poor gins.
How should I serve my ginfusion?
To serve these homemade flavoured gins, just pour over ice and add your choice of tonic and/or garnish! We’ve also popped in some cocktail recipe suggestions below, or you can visit our cocktail hub for more inspiration..
If you don’t drink all of your flavoured gin immediately, keep it in a cool, dark place with the lid tightly sealed and it should last for several months.
Orange-infused gin is the essence of summer in a bottle! Try topping it up with elderflower liqueur, champagne (or sparkling wine) and ice for a memorable sparkling cocktail.
Simply add a squeeze of lime juice, a little tonic and a few drops of simple syrup to this DIY peach-flavoured gin for a delicious summery drink!
Thyme works well on its own or with additional botanicals such as lemon, elderflower, peaches and nectarines.
HOT PINK RASPBERRY GIN
Raspberries are in season and so will have the most vibrant flavour and colour in the hot summer months from late May to until late September, peaking in July. Watch our video recipe for pink raspberry gin and how to whip up the perfect pink gin and tonic! You could also swap out the raspberries for strawberries for a sweeter take on this ginfusion.
Prick the cranberries before adding them to the gin to help their juicy flavour and colour infuse the liquid. You may also want to add some sugar before drinking to offset the drink’s tartness.
LEMON & ELDERFLOWER GIN
A little shake every few days will help the flavours of the elderflower and citrus to infuse the gin. Top up with a beautiful natural lemonade instead of tonic for a delicious alternative to a G&T!
Crush your blueberries lightly - just enough so that the juices can release from the berries - before adding them to your gin. The purply colour of this ginfusion is dramatic!
EARL GREY TEA-INFUSED GIN
Trust us, the floral notes of Early Grey tea work really well with gin. Add a little lemon juice and sugar syrup for your very own G&Tea (or should that be gin-tea-ni?!) Alternatively, here’s a recipe for an Earl Grey cocktail (just remember not to add extra tea, or it will taste horrible)!
GINGER & LIME-INFUSED GIN
The zingy flavours of this ginfusion are amazing! Add a little ice, sugar syrup and red chilli (just a bit!) for a fire-and-ice cocktail that is absolutely perfect on hot summer nights.
Simple but oh-so-refreshing with ice and tonic. Try adding grapefruit, lemon or even chilli for added flavour.
PARMA VIOLET GIN
This retro flavour is a massive trend for gin in 2019! We made a video recipe so you can see how easy it is to make at home.
Check out our recipe for making your own pink rhubarb gin! Although you can get rhubarb all year round, the field-grown produce (which is in season from April to June in the UK) has the most flavour.
If you love gin and would like to discover exciting rare and craft gins - delivered straight to your door along with carefully curated tonics, cordials, paired snacks and all sorts of other gourmet treats - come and join the Craft Gin Club community. You’ll be among friends! Oh, and we’re on Facebook and Instagram too.