How to make gin using a copper alembic still
This common spirit, also known as high standard flavoured vodka, is one of the trending spirits of the current market. Initially a high grade, clean and low congeners alcohol has to be collected. Then during the final distillation, the neutral alcohol is mixed or steamed through the recipe of juniper berries and botanicals. This final distillation will result in a flavoured spirit with a noticeable degree of complexity.
There are 2 processes to have in consideration.
- Simple Distillation
- Steam Distillation
1. The Simple Distillation is quite straight forward. Neutral alcohol is distilled from anything that has fermentable sugars and a high proof result is used on the next step of the process.
Once you have the neutral alcohol, a second distillation is required to achieve the final result, Gin. Just mix the alcohol with the recipe of botanicals that you created and proceed to distill. The final result is a heavier, full-bodied gin ready to enjoy.
The most suitable alembic to that end is the Soldered moonshine copper alembic still and a thermometer soldered to the swan neck to control the temperature and get the most of the distillation. If you don't manage to get the neutral alcohol in the first run, multiple distillations will grant you the % of alcohol necessary to get all the flavours stripped away.
2. If you want to achieve a more refined gin with delicate aromatic qualities, this is the way to go: steam distillation process. The botanicals are suspended above the neutral alcohol without any direct contact between them. Once the distillation starts, the vapours go through the botanicals, which will result on a high grade flavoured spirit.
The distillation will result in around 80% ABV, which typically is diluted down to achieve the desired 40% ABV or 80 proof.
The Split-top rotating column is manufactured with a long column with a sieve tray at the bottom, which can hold the botanicals above the neutral alcohol and is used for steam distillation. A thermometer is recommended to control the temperature and make the cuts (heads, heart & tails).
If it's intended to distill the neutral alcohol as well, the column can be removed at any time, so the alembic is used as a traditional soldered alembic. Having this is mind, the refining lentil it's an option as well.
An installation of a botanical basket is also possible on the following copper alembic stills: the Bain Marie & the Cask Hood. This removable basket is placed inside the lid so it is able to sustain the organics above the neutral alcohol during the distillation process, or removed to distill the neutral alcohol itself.
Drink safe and conscientiously!