Bathtub Gin

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Gin, How to ..., Vodka | 4 Comments

Spice Is Nice

Want to step up your home cocktails this Saturday night? Here’s how to make gin.

This was a fun recipe to pull together and frankly I’m not sure why it took us so long to try it. The idea of “making” gin seemed complicated but then I thought about it. Gin, at its core, is really just juniper-infused vodka.

A suggestion from a reader along with an article from the Gourmet magazine blog gave me all the confidence I needed to make it happen.

We infuse a lot of things around here and depending on the base spirit and desired level of flavor, the steep time can go anywhere from a day to a month. The great thing about this gin? You can start it tonight and be mixing martinis with it for tomorrow’s happy hour. It’s that easy.


The Inspiration

A friend recently declared that “gin is the bacon of alcohol.” Much like bacon it is quite versatile, has a strong decisive flavor, and generally can mix successfully with just about everything. It’s great on its own and will add a kick to beer (Skip and Go Naked), Champagne (French 75), even bourbon (Suffering Bastard).

The tasting notes on this particular batch were all positive: Nicely assertive juniper, complex herbal and sweet notes from the fennel, allspice and coriander, a subtle spiciness from the pepper and a green grassy finish (Bay leaf?). Drinks well on its own and will stand up to mixers and juices.

Have a favorite homemade spirit or infusion? Let us know on Facebook, find us on Twitter or drop it in the comments below.


Homemade Gin

  • One bottle of inexpensive vodka (we used Smirnoff)
  • 4 oz. Everclear (Optional — to increase proof for an “authentic” dry gin)
  • 2-3 tbs. juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbs. coriander seeds
  • 3-4 allspice (whole seeds)
  • 1 bay leaf

Add the juniper berries to the vodka (and Everclear if you have it) and steep overnight. The next day, add the remaining ingredients and let steep all day (or overnight if you have the time)

Your gin will have likely taken on a golden-green hue. This is fine. Strain your gin through a paper coffee filter, change the filter and strain once more (gin with color is fine, gin with solid bits is not).

CAUTION: Don’t mess around with straight up Everclear. It’s a beast. It’s highly flammable. It will peel paint. Respect your ingredients and the body you put them into.

Photos by Gary Allard Copyright © 2012, Pybop, LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions permitted without permission.

Questions? Happy hour ideas? Chat with us on Twitter: @thurshappyhour.


  1. GiGi Best
    March 10, 2012

    I have a question? Do you know how to make vodka into cherry vodka? If so I think cherry vodka with fresh squeezed lemon (the Palm Spring variety) would be the best! It is a great combo, a great martini style beverage!!!

  2. Gary
    March 10, 2012

    Gigi, I’d start with dried cherries, maybe a half cup worth and steep them in the vodka for a at least 24 hours or more. I like your idea for a cherry lemonade cocktail. Sounds great!

  3. Erin K.
    March 16, 2012

    I’m so doing this! Though I may try to take it towards Hendricks with some cucumber and rose petals.
    - I picked up some juniper berries at the store and was surprised to find that they smell like gin – or that’s what gin smells like :)

  4. Jensen
    September 10, 2012

    I didn’t know making gin was this easy, either!

    I also did not know that it’s basically “enhanced” vodka.

    This explains a lot of things……


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