When it comes to creating exquisite home gin experiences, many people ask what goes well with gin? We can definitely say that few things can compare to the satisfaction of using homegrown botanicals in your gin-making adventures! Cultivating your own herbs, spices, and other aromatic plants not only adds a personal touch to the flavours and aromas of your gin creations. In this article, we’ll delve into the joys of gardening and explore how you can cultivate your own gin botanicals, enhancing the craft gin experience along the way.
Select the right plants
Before you start digging, it’s essential to choose the right botanicals for your craft gin. Classic gin botanicals like juniper, coriander, and citrus peels are popular choices, but don’t be afraid to get creative with unique options like lavender, thyme, or even homegrown fruits. Research the ideal growing conditions for each plant and make sure they are suitable for your climate to ensure you make the best of your gin experiences.
Some great ideas include:
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) – Coriander seeds are commonly used to complement juniper in gin, providing a citrusy, spicy note.
- Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citriodora) – This herb offers a lemony, floral aroma that can add a refreshing twist to your gin.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Rosemary brings a piney, herbal note to your gin, which pairs well with juniper.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Lavender adds a sweet, floral aroma and flavour to gin.
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – Basil can impart a fresh, herbal, and slightly peppery note to your gin.
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Thyme offers a savory, earthy flavour that can complement the gin’s botanicals.
- Mint (Mentha spp.) – Mint is known for its cooling and refreshing qualities, which can be a great addition to cocktails.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis) – Sage adds an earthy, slightly astringent note to gin.
- Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) – Cilantro leaves have a fresh and citrusy flavour that can enhance the complexity of your gin.
- Angelica (Angelica archangelica) – Angelica root is used in gin production and contributes earthy, herbal, and slightly sweet notes.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Lemon balm imparts a bright, lemony aroma and flavour that complements gin well.
- Orange Peel (Citrus sinensis) – Orange zest can provide a sweet, citrusy twist to your gin.
- Grapefruit Peel (Citrus paradisi) – Grapefruit peel adds a zesty and slightly bitter citrus element to your gin.
- Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) – Elderflowers have a delicate, floral flavour that pairs nicely with gin’s botanicals.
- Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) – Cardamom seeds or pods can introduce a warm, spicy, and aromatic profile to your gin.
- Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – Fennel seeds contribute a sweet, anise-like flavour to your gin.
- Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – Liquorice root can add a sweet and herbal dimension to your gin.
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – Chamomile flowers provide a soothing, floral note to gin.
- Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) – Hibiscus flowers give a vibrant red colour and a tart, berry-like flavour to your gin.
Preparing your garden
Once you’ve selected your botanicals, it’s time to prepare your garden. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil for your gin botanicals, enriching the soil with organic compost – which you can even make yourself! Many of these plants thrive in containers, making it possible to grow them on a balcony or small patio if you have limited space. Remember to label your plants to avoid confusion when it’s time to harvest.
Care and maintenance
Different botanicals require various levels of care. While some may need frequent watering and pruning, others prefer a hands-off approach, so be sure to do a little research. In general, you should keep the soil moist (not soggy!) and feed with a general-purpose liquid or granular fertiliser once a month. Regularly check for pests and diseases and address any issues promptly to ensure healthy plant growth. Growing your own botanicals is a rewarding process that allows you to connect with nature and appreciate the ingredients that go into crafting your favourite gin.
Harvesting and drying
Harvesting your gin botanicals at the right time is crucial for preserving their flavours and aromas. Typically, herbs and spices are best harvested just before they flower, as this is when their essential oils are most concentrated. After harvesting, you can either use them immediately in your home gin distillery or dry them and store in an airtight container for future use. Drying them ensures they remain available year-round, allowing you to experiment with various gin recipes.
Infusing your gin
Now that you have your homegrown gin botanicals, it’s time to put them to use! Learning what goes well with gin is all about experimenting with different flavour profiles, whether they are floral, spicy, or fruity. Simply add dry spices or citrus rinds to a bottle of London gin or muddle fresh herbs and ingredients into your gin cocktail using London-style craft gin and plain tonic water. If you want to learn how to make craft gin from scratch, it’s a good idea to give our gin-making class a try! You’ll love the unique and personal touch they add to your creations!
Create your own craft gin today
Growing your own gin botanicals is a rewarding journey that adds a personal and flavourful dimension to your craft gin experiences. As you tend to your garden, you’ll develop a deeper appreciation for the botanicals that make gin so unique and learn what goes well with gin. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and start cultivating your own gin botanicals today. Your homemade craft gin creations will be the envy of your friends. Cheers to the joys of gardening and the art of crafting exceptional gin!