We've already advised on the best recipes for home curing with gin. Now, for those of you with more liquid ambitions, we've gone all experimental with homemade gin infusions.
You may be more familiar with the idea of gin infusions than you think. Sipsmith Sloe Gin, for instance – which is made with handpicked, wild sloe berries in the autumn – is itself an infusion. In this context, “infusion” simply means that your spirit has been left to sit with different flavouring and aromatic agents that will, over time, change its taste. For home bartenders it’s one of the most interesting ways of experimenting with your cocktails, and for novice cooks it’s fabulously easy: usually as simple as chucking some ingredients in with your gin and letting them steep together for a spell.
Our Master Distiller Jared Brown has a few tips for those looking to craft their own gin infusions at home. To begin with, he recommends raspberry infused gin – a perfect choice for the summer months, and one that lends itself to delectable, ruby-hued G&Ts. The process is simple: rinse off a punnet of fresh raspberries and add to a large kilner jar before mixing in your bottle of gin. Leave to sit for about a week until fragrant and colourful, before straining out the fruit and pouring the gin back into its bottle. It’s as simple as that.
Those looking to truly impress with their creations should try homemade truffle infused gin – though this may lighten the wallet somewhat. To begin, slice a medium-sized black truffle with a mandolin. Using the same kilner jar process, leave to steep in the gin for about a week before straining and rebottling. This gin is perfect in a bold, brawny Martini – extra dry.
For the especially daring (and technical) mixologists out there, Jared also recommends gin infused with home-smoked cherry wood. Begin with gin that’s been sitting in the freezer – you’ll also want a Weber barbecue, which is ideal for smoking. Just after you’ve fired it up, soak your cherry wood pieces in water. Once the charcoal has died down to hot coals, put the frozen gin in a metal mixing bowl. Drain the wet wood chips and throw them directly on the coals, which will produce a great deal of smoke. Now, put your metal bowl on the cooking rack and cover the grill – in just 20 minutes, you should have a gorgeously smoke-imbued gin.
Apart from our Master Distiller’s suggestions, there are a number of other gin infusion recipes out there that should inspire you – or you can even craft your own. Earl Grey tea is one popular infusion choice; it also needs just an hour to brew (three bags of tea is perfect for a bottle). Given that our London Cup is made with Earl Grey, lemon verbena, and cucumber infusions, it’s also a perfect partner for our London Dry Gin.
In short, there’s almost no shortage of experimenting you can do when crafting your own infusions. Elderflower and cucumber would work well in spring, while a lavender-dosed gin would make for complex, floral sipping. Rhubarb or lemongrass, grapefruit or star anise: once you look for it, flavour inspiration is everywhere.