Misfits, your Bad Mama Genny can only suppress the Bad in her for so long. And you knew it was only a matter of time before we revisited the propensity toward moonshining that I seem to have inherited. So, dollfaces, get your doll-like game faces on because we’re makin’ gin!
Okay, but let’s back the moped up for a moment. We’re doing all this without a still, because we’re not actually distilling our own hard liquor–that’s still illegal. Jimmy Carter can only do so much. Instead, we’re taking a cheap bottle of vodka, steeping it with aromatics, and using this process by Jeffrey Morgenthaler to filter the bejeezus out of it. Thereby turning it into gin.
I know you’ll appreciate this recipe because you’re thrifty little misfits, yes you are! After all, we needses our monies for important things. Like fishnets. And remote-control helicopters. And more cheap alcohol.
The Boy and I deviated from Morgenthaler’s ingredients and instructions a bit, but I can’t tell you how I did it because it’s my secret and proprietary blend of 11 herbs and spices.
Wait–I’m not the Colonel! I forgot. Sometimes I forget and think I’m the Colonel.
So I’m totally telling you how we did it. ‘Cause sharin’ recipes is just how I roll. But feel free to do things in your own slammin’ way, kewpie dolls. We used some different spices in different amounts, added a lavender infusion (can’t wait to try a lavender and lemongrass blend), chose booze strength differently, and blah blah blah. If you’d like to do this Jeffrey’s way, see his post.
If you’d like to do this the Bad Mama Genny way…
hold tight, take a swig, crank up the Brian Eno, and for the sake of all that is good in this world, do NOT use a coaster, mmkay?
1 750mL bottle 80-proof vodka (don’t bother with anything too fancy until you’ve tweaked the recipe to your liking)
3 Tablespoons dried juniper berries
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried lavender flowers
5 teaspoons whole coriander, crushed lightly with the side of a chef’s knife
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
1 small cinnamon stick, lightly crushed (I used the handle of a coffee scoop…you could also use a hammer, a rubber mallet, a heavy can, an obese domestic animal, etc.)
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed lightly with the side of a chef’s knife
A pitcher-style water filter system, with a brand, spanking new filter that’s been rinsed and prepped for use per the manufacturer’s instructions (this isn’t really an ingredient. You will not be consuming the water filter. This time.)
Okay, so toss all those badass spices and flowers and stuff into a french press. A jar works fine, too, it’ll just require an extra straining step with some cheesecloth later on. French Press makes this easier. French Press lets me be what I am. Which is lazy.
Now you’re going to pour in the vodka…
And it’ll look like this.
Okay, so that was easy, right? Well, not so fast, because the hardest part is coming. THE WAITING.
Oh, god, the WAITING! For about 10 days (Morgenthaler recommended a week, I believe in overkill). You’ll live. So just pass the time while your booze sits in a dark, room temperature place. We used our fermentation room.
So! Ten days later and this is what you have.
Mmm…floating stuffs and things. Push the plunger down on your French Press (or strain the mixture into a jar through a cheesecloth-lined sieve)…
Give it a good sniff. Smells like gin, right?! Awesome! Now here comes the water filter part. Pour your booze-o-hol into the top of the pitcher (It should be mentioned that you will not want to use this filter for water ever again. But that’s okay, every urban homestead needs a dedicated booze filter.)
It will filter once and look something like this.
Now wash out your French Press or jar and pour the booze back into it.
Rinse out your filter’s pitcher bowl thingy to remove sediment, and filter the booze a SECOND time–it’ll look something like this:
Now pour it back into the French Press or jar (feeling deja vu yet?). At this point, a mischievous looking tiki cup may or may not appear next to your booze, depending on how Bad you’ve been in your misfittish life.
Apparently, I’ve been pretty Bad.
Now rinse the pitcher again, filter your magic juice a THIRD time, and continue to repeat the pitcher-rinsing and filtering until you’ve filtered it FIVE TIMES.
You now have gin. TAH-DAH!!!!
Bottle it with snark.
Now collect another, different tiki cup and fill it with ice. Do not ask yourself, “Self, why do I have such a number and variety of tiki cups?” The answer is irrelevant, as one should not question the universe’s benevolence in such an impudent manner.
Have The Boy (ooh, a The Boy sighting!) cut up some lemon slices.
Observe the packaged elderflowers in the background. They will be used to make elderflower champagne, for which you will soon be gifted with a recipe. (I’ll also be teaching people how to make it, in person, at The Creative Connection event in St. Paul in September! Sign up for my classes on pickling and fermenting! Liberate the misfit inside of you!)
Okay, the monorail in my head just derailed. Must need more gin. So have somebody cut up lemon slices for you, and collect some sparkling beverage of sorts. Mix some gin with the sparkly stuff, pour over ice, and garnish with lemon.
Ignore the sloppy-looking stuffed animals in the background. They are totally trashed and we are trying to get them into a good rehab program, but these things can be slow-going, and you can’t rush the process of recovery.
Also, you don’t have to spring for SanPel. It’s all Walgreens had on the Saturday night we decided to finish our gin. I’m pretty sure this is not the kind of “emergency” the good people at Walgreens envisioned when they decided to go 24-hours.
Q: It’s 11:30 P.M. Do you know where YOUR Bad Mama Genny is?
A: Making moonshine. Yeah, that sounds about right.
The Boy: “Wait for the garnish!! The garnish!!! YOU CAN’T TAKE PHOTOS UNTIL I’VE PROPERLY GARNISHED.”
Zee Boy, he iz zee artiste.
So in sum:
MmmmmmmmmYESYESYESYESYES! Our gin turned out DELICIOUS, cardamom-forward, floral from the lavender, and steeped with the exotic perfume of juniper berries. And if you’re wondering how to use the extra juniper berries, why not save them and make a slab of homemade bacon? I’ll post the recipe here in the near future, so stay tuned.
© 2011, Genevieve P. Charet. All rights reserved.