Thirsty Thursday!

written by Melina

In honour of World Gin Day on Saturday we have decided to make our own!

We cannot get enough of it’s junipery goodness. If you are as giddy for gin as we are, why not try your hand at making the quintessential spirit of Britain? See our easy recipe below.

There are some excellent places to try your hand at delicious distillation, where masters of this fine art will guide you through the process and you can take your creation home with you…if there is any left!

The Ginstitute | Portobello Star Bar

City of London Distillery

The Draft House – Events

BOOKING – Vestal Voyages

Adnams Tours: Visit our brewery & distillery


Hurrah for Gin 

Make your own in 48 hours ….



750ml vodka

2 tbsp juniper berries (more if you like  more juniper flavoured gin)

¼ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp whole allspice

¾ tsp coriander seeds

4 cardamom pods

2 peppercorns

1 torn bay leaf

A small sprig of lavender

A larger sprig of rosemary

A small piece of dried grapefruit peel (no pith)

A small piece of dried lemon peel (no pith)



Kilner jar

Muslin/cheesecloth/ clean jcloth

Pestle & mortar/ rolling pin



Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar to help release the smell and flavour, put in your Kilner jar. Pour over the vodka and seal. Leave for 12 hours.

Taste your vodka; it should it should new taste like the beginnings of Gin. If not, add more juniper berries and leave for a further 12 hours. The amount of juniper flavour will depend on how fresh your berries are. When you are happy with the juniper flavour remove the berries from the liquid.

Place the remaining ingredients into Kilner jar **

Top up with the juniper-infused vodka and leave for a further 36 hours.

Filter your gin back into the vodka bottle and re-label with your choice of name… Hel’s GIN

Your Gin might go the colour of bathtub gin, ie yellow. Don’t worry, this won’t affect the flavour – it is because it hasn’t been filtered as much as a normal shop bought gin.

Invite your friends around – line up your iced glasses, pour in your creation, top with tonic add a wedge of lime and raise you glasses


** if you prefer your gin to be more citrusy add more peel, equally of you prefer more of a softness add more bay – tweak as much as you like


The tonic

Whipping up a batch of tonic water is fairly easy. The hardest part is finding all the ingredients, but a trip to a herbalist or a quick online search should furnish you with all that you need.

1l water

500g sugar

Zest and juice of 2 limes

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Zest and juice of 1 orange

28g cinchoa bark

28g citric acid

1-4 sticks of lemongrass

2-4 cardamom pods

10 allspice berries

Soda water


Accurate small scales

Large saucepan

Wooden spoon


Small sieve


A bottle or two

Put all the ingredients except the soda water into your pan and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. Stir to ensure the sugar has fully dissolved.

Allow to cool, then strain the syrup into bottles. It will keep in the fridge for about a month.

When using, dilute at around 4:1 with soda water to make fizzy tonic water.

This recipe yields a one-litre bottle with a bit left over. The extra bit can be frozen as ice cubes and used in gin and soda water, making a gin and tonic that slowly becomes more tonic-y, and therefore more refreshing, as it warms.


Tonic recipe by: Andy Hamilton is a forager, brewer, imbiber and the author of Booze for Free. For more of his recipes and experiments, visit or follow @andyrhamilton.