Here’s a topic on Gin making! I think it will be the first of many more. There are so many herbs in Gin and it is such a trendy drink that there is enough to talk about! Where to start? Easy. Let’s start with juniper and let’s start at the beginning of the run.
Juniper is essential to Gin. But how much Juniper is needed? And what variety? What to do and what not to do with Juniper berries? Let’s dive in deeper.
There are a lot of different juniper berry growing plants out there. And most of them are very poisonous. So make sure you use one variety and one variety only: Juniperus Communis. Normal, regular juniper berries, that is.
Okay Juniperus Virginiana is also non-toxic, but taste concentration is generally lower than in Juniperus Communis. So go for the regular variety please.
Place & Shape
Where from? Doesn’t really matter. Currently the Balkans as well as Italy provide good quality juniper berries. But more importantly than where they are from is in what shape they are. Are the berries dry? Not good. Can you press them a bit and make juniper oils come out? Now, that’s the stuff you are after!
In a regular liter of Gin the amount of juniper berries used is around 20 grams. Yes Sir! Around 20 grams of Juniperus Communis per liter of maceration / boiler charge is fine too.
No need to crush them. Just toss them into the boiler and let them boil during distillation. That way they give off most of their taste.
Taste and where to find it
The taste of juniper berries is piny. And these tastes come over at the beginning of the run.
What not to forget
The first part of the run comes over with very highly concentrated juniper oils. So much, that even at 90% ABV or more, these first juniper oils come out of sollution. These first oils are harsh, astringuent, not tasty! You need to toss them, you don’t want them in your Gin!
How to do that
Easy. The normal Fores cut on your iStill will take care of it. That’s where these first overly concentrated juniper oils an be found. And if you get rid of these Fores … you also get rid of these excessive first juniper oils. See the picture underneath to judge for yourselves how clogged up these first oils are! That’s on a 240 liter 30% charged Gin run I did with the iStill 250 Pro Series just last week.
Hazy first juniper oils come over with Fores …