It's World Gin Day! How To Make Your Own Gin With Hibiscus And Lemongrass For A Bright, Summery Spirit

I've written before about my love for gin, which means that today, June 13th, is a very special day for me: it's World Gin Day. It's a celebration of all things juniper. There are a lot of ways you could celebrate: recipes for gin cocktails are easy to find, or you could even get fancy with a gin and tonic cake. But why not start from scratch and learn how to make gin yourself? Instead of using gin to make something else, let's make gin.

There are some pretty hardcore people out there who will distill their own gin, but I'm nowhere near that cool. We're going to do it the semi-homemade way: because gin is really just botanicals suspended in a neutral spirit, we'll start with vodka and build it from there.

Different gins have completely different flavor profiles, because outside of a few base notes (always juniper, usually cardamom, coriander, and citrus), you can add almost anything you want. The last time I made gin, I used rosemary, fennel, and orange. For our Gin Day celebration, I thought something summery would be appropriate, and the grocery store by me happened to have some gorgeous dried hibiscus flowers. Throw in some lemongrass and pink peppercorn, and you have a beautifully light and floral gin with just a little bit of bite. Oh, and it's bright magenta.

It makes lovely gin and tonics, and I bet it would be great in a gimlet. Dirty martinis are not recommended, though.

Gin With Hibiscus, Lemongrass, And Pink Peppercorn

What You'll Need:

  • An empty quart-sized jar with lid
  • A neutral base spirit, such as vodka (Apparently this should be over 100-proof, but I've never actually checked the ones I use...)
  • 2 tbsp. juniper berries
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 two-inch pieces of orange peel with as little pith as possible
  • 1 4-inch stalk lemongrass
  • 1/2 tsp. pink peppercorns
  • 4-5 dried hibiscus petals

Combine all ingredients in the quart jar and seal. Infuse for 36-48 hours, depending on how strong you want it. Make sure to take lots of Instagram photos. Strain out the botanicals, and use your gin!

Images: Leigh Kunkel