DI’s Lucy Britner distils her own in pursuit of an alternative career

on 14 May, 2011

I made my own gin! While it was bubbling away in a tiny Florence Flask (bulb-bottomed glass flask), I was getting excited about a potential second career as a master distiller. I was imagining travelling the world, clinking glasses with bartenders as we enjoy my wonderful creation, then popping to warm Mediterranean countries to source botanicals…

Actually, all I had done was go to Plymouth distillery, select some botanicals and put them in a flask full of neutral spirit. The distillery introduced a set of mini stills so that people could understand the production process and have a go themselves – under the watchful eye of Plymouth master distiller Sean Harrison.

I had Christmas in mind for my gin and went for orange peel, nutmeg, angelica and, of course, juniper. Goodness knows about the quantities. I tried to follow Harrison’s advice and ease up on the orange, go steady with the nutmeg and add the optimum amount of juniper. In this case, the optimum amount of juniper was enough to line the bottom of a small plastic scoop. Or so I thought.

So there I was, grinning like an idiot as my new – and obviously sensational – gin bubbled into being, all the time eyeing up Plymouth master distiller Sean Harrison’s shoes to see if I could fill them.

It turns out the great man has much bigger feet than me. Both metaphorically and, I think, physically. As he cut my gin to 40% abv with water and bottled it, he warned me the orange would stand proud as the most volatile aroma. He wasn’t lying. My gin was well and truly Tangoed.

A couple of days later, the orange had faded a little but the secondary aromas were thin and stewed. And so were my dreams of being a distiller.

Although I might sneak it into the ISC gin tasting anyway, just to see the judges wince.

I’ll let you know how it fares…

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