Distillation: Where it all Be-Gins!
Everyone knows gin is delicious. From the juniper heavy classics perfect for relaxing with on a summer afternoon, to the complex flavours of gins crammed full of exotic spices from distant lands, gin is delicious. But how is it actually made?
Well, every single bottle of our gin will begin its life in our beautiful copper still. Our process has three stages which are all equally important: the Infusion, the Distillation and the Bottling.
Stage One: Infusion
Each time we make a batch of gin we fill our still up with a mix of grain spirit and the best botanicals we can get our hands on. For our London Dry Gin this means plenty of Juniper, Tonka Beans and a very precise mix of eight other botanicals to balance it all out, while our Hop Gin requires a completely different mix – including our seven different hop varieties.
Once the botanicals have been added to the still we leave them to soak overnight in a lovely boozey bath for 12 hours. This infusion time lets the alcohol fully extract all the wonderful flavours to ensure that every bottle of gin is crammed with as much flavour and aroma as possible.
Stage Two: Distillation
After those 12 hours have passed we then begin the most exciting stage: the actual distillation. Our spirits transform from a murky botanical soup and into our pure colourless spirit. But what exactly happens during distillation?
We like to think of it as magic mixed with science, that’s certainly what it feels like at least! Technically speaking distillation is actually the process of separating alcohol from water through heating. The still essentially acts as one big kettle, heating the alcohol up to its boiling point and turning it into vapour. It’s this pure alcohol vapour that will become our final product, but it first needs to be turned back into a liquid which we do by rapidly cooling it and condensing it.
Try holding a cold mirror over a steaming mug of tea (or coffee – we support all hot beverage choices here!) to see the principle in action. The water vapour (steam) will rise from the hot mug and hit the mirror where it will turn back into droplets of water. Distillation in a nutshell!
The trick is to make sure you only collect the best part of the spirit though, and it’s here that we let Peter work his own magic. The final result is a collected gin spirit that is VERY high in strength (think 75% + ABV) and perfectly balanced in flavour – not that we have tried it.
Stage Three: Bottling
The final stage is the bottling, which involves dropping the ABV down to a much more drinkable 42.5% before we bottle and label it all up. Because we label every single bottle entirely by hand and handwrite the batch numbers, so no two bottles will ever look exactly the same. Its a time consuming process, but we think its definitely worth it. Why not try a bottle for yourself and see whether you think so too?
We also hold much more in depth tours and tastings at the distillery, so if you’re interested in learning more about how we distil and what exactly goes into our gin, just visit our contact us page and drop us a line!