I’m the contributing editor here at APB, and I can’t believe I’m doing this … I’m publishing my secret gin recipe. The reason? Although this Cop Hobbies column has been a hit with you guys and gals, none of you wrote in last month to share yours. I understand it, though. It’s for the same reason that all of you show up early on the first day of mandatory classes — you know, so you can claim your seat in the back row for the whole week and then silently watch the show. So you’re making me nationally expose what everyone tells me is the best gin in the world. The trade-off? Share your hobby with us.
I know a bit about liquor because my first writing gig was all the marketing stuff for this new, unheard-of vodka called Ketel One. I guess I did OK at it because my old friend Karl (the owner) is now worth $3 billion. So these days, for fun, I create liquor infusion recipes, bottle the results and share them with friends.
While gin is my favorite libation, I could never settle on one. That’s because the best gins are all great, but different. I like foods and spirits that can play host to my broad palate, so I went on a mission to concoct a gin recipe that could keep up.
I use the very simple infusion method, which is simply steeping vodka (the clearest spirit) with botanicals. Through trial and error, this recipe took me over a year to make … taste-testing dozens of herbs and spices and combinations thereof until I hit the jackpot.
The best gins are really expensive, but you can make this stuff on the cheap. I use five-times distilled Seagram’s Extra Smooth Vodka, which costs about $12 for a 1.75-liter bottle. My recipe below is for five of those bottles, which is how much I make each time — and no, it’s not all for me … it’s for gifts! So however much you want to make, adjust accordingly.
You’ll need to buy some nut milk bags (they’re like big tea bags) from Amazon or wherever, and although I buy my botanicals in bulk, you should be able to get everything small-scale from a local Whole Foods or similar organic purveyor. You’ll also need to borrow your spouse’s coffee grinder or something similar. So here you go:
5 1.75-liter bottles of cheap vodka
1 cup juniper berries
1 ½ cups licorice root
1 ½ cups chamomile
12 cardamom pods
5 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons lavender
5 tablespoons slippery elm
1. Grind the juniper berries and place in a nut milk bag.
2. Place licorice root in a different nut milk bag.
3. Finely grind all other ingredients and place in another nut milk bag.
4. Get out your big sun tea jar, fill it with the vodka and throw all three bags in it.
5. Remove licorice root after six hours, the juniper bag after 24 hours and the last bag after 48 hours (I cut the bags’ strings short, medium and long, so that I know the difference). Like fine wine and some of the best craft beers, your final product will have particulate matter; there’s no need to strain it out.
If you make this gin, I promise you, you’ll have a lot more friends. And FYI, I have a 100-proof, jet-black, sweet-and-smooth aperitif that I call “Backpfeifengesicht” (a German word without an English translation, but it basically means a face that needs to be punched) that’ll wow you and your entire shift or unit after work some night. Want the recipe? Send in your cop hobby to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for it, and we’ll have a deal!