How to make gin - a quick guide on how gin is made
In simple terms, gin is made by distilling a neutral spirit with juniper berries and usually other botanicals (herbs, spices, fruit, etc). It must taste predominantly of juniper.
The vast majority of gin makers do not make their own neutral spirit themselves - although a very few do.
After distillation (when the flavours of the juniper and other botanicals have flavoured the base spirit), water is added to reduce the alcohol strength to the required level (by law, it must be at least 37.5%)
The gin is then bottled, labelled (and must include a duty stamp), packed and delivered.
Unlike many other spirits, gin does not have to spend any time maturing (although a specialist category of oak aged gins exists).
Case study: Here's how we make York Gin
To make York Gin, we use the traditional, centuries-old method of vapour infusion in a copper still.
Pure alcohol (made from Yorkshire grain) is heated in a copper still (essentially a very large kettle) to become a vapour. This vapour passes through a large basket of carefully chosen botanicals (herbs and spices which must, by law, include juniper berries). During the process, the alcohol takes on their flavours.
This almost pure alcohol then condenses into liquid form again - a very, very strong gin!
We then move on to the dilution stage, using the purest, filtered Yorkshire water and only the 'hearts' (the highest quality liquid from the vapour infusion process).
These 'hearts' are mixed with the Yorkshire water until the gin is the required strength. (42.5% for all but Outlaw which is a rather stronger 57%!)
While our traditional, labour-intensive and exacting techniques mean a higher price, they are justified by the superior quality and consistency of our gins. We've earned our Distillery of the Year 2021 title.
In addition, the York Gin distillery is run on sustainable principles, using 100% green energy to power the still.