Friday, August 7, 2020

Vintage Martinis With Homemade Gins

Here aret two new gins I've been making at home. After several batches, I've settled on the recipes and I am ready to share them, knowing that they are pretty solid. It was a matter of proportions of botanicals to spirits, as well as a tricky trial and error period for infusion time.

Let me be clear, I don't have a still. I wouldn't mind getting into the weeds of how to make gin completely from grains. But I don't have the equipment and it is unlikely that my readers do either. Instead, I'm offering recipes for bathtub gin or steeped gin. These are neutral (or mostly neutral) spirits infused with gin botanicals. The types of gin, their recipes and cocktails I've used them in can be found below:

Dry Gin

Most gin drinkers are familiar with dry gins. There's no added sugar or juices, just dry fruit peels, berries and seeds. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking, but know that this method is safe.

In a large jar with an airtight lid add the following and allow to steep for three days. Strain out solids through mesh and store in a bottle with an airtight stopper or cap.

  • 1/4 cup juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp. angelica seeds
  • peel of 1/2 of a lemon
  • peel of 1/2 of an orange
  • 1 tsp. anise seeds (1/2 anise pod is okay but not ideal.)
  • 2-3 sprigs of basil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 750-ml. bottle of 100-proof vodka  
Dutch Courage or Shiedam Gin

Steeped gin is kind of a Dutch tradition. The original Dutch genever was made with a malted barley mash with juniper berries fermenting in it. Then the mash was distilled and later flavored by steeping more botanicals. To replicate this malt distillate, I used moonshine rather than vodka. Climax Moonshine from Virginia has the perfect flavor that I'm looking for. It is made from corn, sugar and malted barley, so it has that beery nose that a Dutch gin needs. Finally, after steeping the botanicals, I added 1 1/2 oz. of malt whiskey. This is because Dutch gin is often aged for a few months. Malt whiskey like Copper Fox single malt or Virginia distillery whiskey will work. If you cant get these, use a single malt Irish whiskey. There's no peat in Dutch gin, so a malty and even slightly smoky whiskey will do, but not Scotch. 

Add the moonshine and all dry ingredients to a jar with an airtight lid and allow to steep for ten days. Strain out solids using a mesh strainer and add malt whiskey. Store in a bottle with an airtight stopper or cap.

  • 1/4 cup juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp. angelica seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. corriander
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed cardamom 
  • 1 pinch fresh rosemary
  • 1 pinch fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. dried birch leaves
  • 3 cups of Climax moonshine or other white whiskey with malt character
  • 1 1/2 oz. malt whiskey 

Classic Martini With Homemade Dry Gin:

This is classic Prohibition style Martini with classic proportions. Lots of gin and a fair amount of vermouth.  

  • 3 oz.  homemade dry gin
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • olives or lemon twist garnish

Stir liquid ingredients on ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish according to preference.  

Classic Martinez With Dutch Courage

You want a gin that plays like whiskey for a Martinez. It's a lot like a Manhattan, or more so than a Martini. 

  • 3 oz. homemade Dutch courage
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • several dashes Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • one dash orange or aromatic bitters
  • orange twist garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist the orange peel over the glass and drop it in. 

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