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Making gin with Gin Monkey

Don't try this at home - instead pop along to the City of London Distillery (COLD) and get tasting.

Gin is pretty awesome, that much most of us agree upon. Yet what you might not know is how easy and quick gin is to make. 

When the all-knowing gin expert Gin Monkey invited us to City of London Distillery to make some of our own we felt certain this would be a lengthy process. And yet within two hours were walking down Fleet Street swinging our very own bottle of gin. 

The process starts off at the bar with a Gin and Tonic, to prepare your palates of course. Having made friends with the group, eased by that G&T no doubt, you'll cross through the bar to the distillery part and set about sniffing botanicals. Our wonderful guide helped us with proportions and kindly let us know if we stuck to her advice it would be impossible to make a bad gin. Phew. As much as we fancied ourselves intrepid and fearless gin makers we baulked at the last moment and decided on a classic, juniper-forward and citrus heavy. Boring but tasty. 


City of London Distillery Bar

Others in our group were much more inventive, using green tea, rosehip and almond. Once we'd gathered our carefully measured botanicals we were led to the tiny stills used for making individual bottles of spirit. Hilariously they're named after the seven dwarfs, and true to its name our still Sleepy took its time getting warmed up. 

With our botanicals stewing in the raw alcohol we cranked up the heat and waited till the first few drops came out - tasting super boozy and super citrusy, those oils being the first flavours to come through. What followed was a healthy stream of our very own gin which we captured, diluted and poured into a bottle. Coming up with a name was tricky, but we mananged not to cave into the pressure to be witty, and went for a translation of the word cheers in least according to our Iranian colleague. Hopefully she didn't make us name it something rude or stupid. 

Overall, the whole experience was delightful, from squishing the juniper berries and delveing into their gin-like aroma, to watching as our own creation poured from the still, and finally enjoying the not-so-hard labour in a refreshing G&T. And the great news is you don't have to be a drinks writer to have a go. The bar-slash-distillery run this offer all the time, and if you really love your gin they'll keep the recipe and make you some more when your bottle runs dry. Take a look at ticketing options here