Gin has become one of the most popular spirits across the globe, and it might have you feeling curious as to how it’s made. We distill our own Harrogate Gin and Downton Abbey spirits here in our Yorkshire-based distillery, so it’s safe to say that we know how to make delicious gin. Without giving away too many of our secrets, let’s look into how gin is made… grab yourself a tipple (it would be rude not to!), and dive deep into the world of gin with us.
What is Gin Made From?
Distilled gin starts its like as a neutral grain spirit, with an ABV of around 96%. However, it’s the inclusion of botanicals that helps to give gin the flavours that you know and love. Juniper berries are known for the part they play in the creation of gin, as it’s the juniper flavour that is most predominant and recognised, but it certainly isn’t the only botanical used to make this much-loved spirit.
The botanicals used to make gin vary between distilleries, but we handpick most of our botanicals from the gardens surrounding our distillery here in Ripley. Lavender and Pink Grapefruit are among the botanicals we select to give our gins a light, floral and subtle citrus flavour. And for our flavoured gins, we use English Rhubarb, Blueberries and Gooseberries. These botanicals are distilled with the ethanol to produce gin, and the flavours and oils from these botanicals are extracted during the process, to add their flavours to the spirit.
What is Gin Made In?
In addition to the ingredients that help to produce gin; the tools are also extremely important! Gin is distilled in what are known as stills, which can be made from copper, stainless steel and aluminium, among other materials. We distill our gin in big copper stills, and we selected copper as it creates a beautiful, smooth taste without any unwanted flavours coming through from the still. The clean, smooth flavour is one of the many features that our customers love about our Harrogate Gin, and copper stills are such a big part of the Harrogate Tipple family that they even have names – Zac and Cassie!
In regards to the method of making gin within the stills, there are a few different options. Gin can be created via steeping, vapor infusion, and vacuum distillation:
- The steeping methodology involves adding the alcohol solution in with all of the botanicals into a still together. The gin is then also distilled with water to dilute it to an ABV that is drinkable, and enjoyable – without the addition of water, it certainly wouldn’t be drinkable!
- The Vapor infusion method differs as the botanicals don’t come into direct contact with the spirit during the process. Instead, the botanicals are placed into baskets above the spirit and are able to infuse with the spirit once the ethanol begins to boil and evaporate. The vapor then condenses back into a liquid and is again mixed with water to produce gin.
- Vacuum distillation is a more modern technique for making gin. The spirit and botanicals are placed into a vacuumed still, which allows the solution to reach a low boiling point. The spirit and botanicals gently boil slowly together to produce gin.
And there you have it – a whistle-stop tour on how gin is made!
Interested to learn more about how gin is made?
As soon as we are safely able to welcome customers back, we will be offering distillery tours to show you first-hand how our gin is made. We’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to create our very own gin school, where you will be able to book a fantastic immersive gin experience with us! During which you will have the opportunity to distill your very own bottle of gin using small copper stills, and pick the botanicals straight from the garden surrounding the school. Keep your eyes peeled to find out when this is launching!