J Is For Juniper

J is nothing if not resourceful. She was rather envious when, as regular readers might recall, I was able to slash my booze bill by about 80% by mixing my own rakı. I know she was envious because I saw the green flashes of Sauron behind her beautiful grey eyes!

Anyway, not to be outdone she began her research into the quaintly named ‘botanicals’ that give various gins their unique flavours. Her position was that if all it took was some aniseed essence to flavour my rakı then a similar principle should apply to ‘making’ gin. She was not wrong.

This being Turkey with its amazingly varied climate and geography sourcing the herbs and/or spices she’d need would be easy.  She collected juniper berries which are essential, coriander seeds and prepared some candied orange and lemon peel – candied to supply a little sugar.

juniper in the wild 

and fit for purpose

coriander seeds – you may wish to crack them to better release the flavour

citrus peel steeped in sugar water and awaiting  oven drying

Once these ingredients were ready she half-inched one of my bottles of ethanol. She then steeped the ‘botanicals’ in boiling water for 24 hours before making the quantity up to the same ratio I use for rakı (1.25:1), by adding the ethyl alcohol. The whole is then left to develop for a number of days. J advocates testing every few hours by sniffing and tasting (of course) until you have the intensity you desire. Then she drained the liquid through a sieve to remove the debris and bottled the resulting spirit.

I have to tell you her stuff is the business! She keeps it in a fancy gin bottle to impress any visitors unlike my rakı which is chugged out of what amounts to a milk bottle!

not Hendrick’s but the ‘Real McKöy’  (bit of an ‘in’ joke – sorry)

Truth to tell, using the ethyl alcohol which is freely available here in Turkey you can have all sorts of fun experimenting with different ‘botanicals’. Pretty much anything goes so why not give it a go. Here’s a chart that will help you choose the flavour you seek.

You can check out the kit and process I use for rakı here

Happy Daze, A&J