The process of making your own gin is a relatively simple one, but it rewards you with the extraordinary feeling of having performed wizardry. All you need is vodka as a base alcohol, and a selection of botanicals for infusing.
Juniper berries are the key to gin’s iconic taste. During the infusion process, vodka takes on the flavour of the berries, alongside any additional botanicals. The tricky bit comes with knowing which blends to use so that your finished gin resembles a spirit that’s delicious to drink.
Gin-making kits are the perfect option for guiding gin-lovers through the process of creating their own bottle, providing the infusing blends plus instructions for quantities and steeping times, and the equipment required.
BBC Good Food drinks expert and editor Miriam Nice put a selection of the best gin-making kits to the test, using Smirnoff vodka and shop-bought tonic. Only those that hit each testing criteria made it into this list of the best, which were tested on everything from the quality of the ingredients and final product, to their selection of botanicals and value for money.
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Best gin-making kits at a glance
- Best overall gin-making kit: Do Your Gin DIY kit
- Best gin-making kit for eco credentials: Kitchen Provisions gin-making introductory trio
- Best for citrus gin-lovers: Sandy Leaf Farm gin-making kit
- Best value for money: Makester gin-making kit
Best gin-making kits to buy in 2020
Do Your Gin DIY kit
Best gin-making kit
- Quality components and ingredients
- Broad range of botanicals
- 100 per cent recyclable packaging
- Priciest gin-making kit
This is a gin-making kit that would suit anyone from gin beginners and connoisseurs, and it’s exciting to boot. Each element feels premium, from the cork stoppers on the spice blend pots to the botanicals themselves.
The kit’s 12 botanicals include hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, offering you the opportunity to create a blends you may not have tried before. With hibiscus, liquorice root and lavender, a sense of genuine mixology adventure accompanies this gin-making kit.
Instructions walk you through the process and offer extra bits of information, like the Latin names of all the ingredients included. Once steeped, the sturdy metal funnel fits perfectly into the glass bottles for decanting the gin.
Although expensive, this is a well-thought-out gin-making kit that’s worth every penny.
Traditional blend: Subtle and delicate with elegant spicing, this has a herbal finish that’s complex and savoury, even more so with tonic.
Colourful blend: You could fool people into thinking you’d bought this. It’s a gorgeous colour, with a decent hibiscus flavour that pairs deliciously with tonic.
Kitchen Provisions gin-making introductory trio
- Available from Not on the High Street (£29.50)
Best gin-making kit for eco credentials
- Minimal plastic
- Well presented
- Funnel a tad small
This gin-making kit would make a great gift. From a sustainability angle, plastic is used minimally throughout, with paper and cardboard alternatives used.
A simple card holds the instructions, and also explains compound gin, informing the experience of making it. The three blends included in the kit (alongside a jar of plump juniper berries) look and smell good. One is classic, one floral and the last spicy.
Alongside a fine mesh sieve, funnel and filter papers is a 700ml glass bottle and stopper, with a printed label. All components are of good quality, and nicely packed.
Tasting notes: Quite sweet with cinnamon and clove. With tonic, you notice the spices even more. This drink would be particularly good with a slice of orange. Be careful not to over-infuse, as you’ll start to taste a bitter edge.
- Available from Not on the High Street (£29.50)
Sandy Leaf Farm the ultimate gin-maker’s kit
Best for citrus gin-lovers
- Great design
- Easy instructions
- Variety of blends
- Plastic sachets
The first thing you notice about this kit is the lovely branding. Its cheerful illustrated box is robust, and contains enough botanicals to make eight different blends, along with the tools for doing so – three tasting pipettes, kraft bottle tags and hessian twine, a metal sieve, funnel, measuring spoons and an instruction booklet.
The quantities included could be used to make 10 x 700ml bottles of gin, and the variety is a great touch. Although the tools aren’t premium, they are reusable and small enough to be easily stored for other uses in the kitchen.
A beautifully designed instruction manual walks you through the steps, and makes what is a relatively simple two-step process even simpler. With blends like the botanical base, it proves tricky to know you’ve got everything in a single scoop, but it adds an air of excitement because every batch could taste slightly different.
Tasting notes: The final product is fairly subtle, with a good focus on juniper and a touch of spice. Paired with tonic, the drink has slightly more citrus than a standard gin, so you could forego lemon slices. Overall, a perfectly pleasant drink.
Makester gin-making kit
Best value for money
- Good mix of flavours
- Easy to follow instructions
- Bold design feels decorative rather than functional
Makester’s clean, bold design is the first thing that strikes you with this gin-making kit. A good mix of flavours, nice components and clear instructions mean this has impressive value for money.
A funnel and strainer are included, as well as nine sachets of botanicals: juniper, raspberry, hibiscus, cacao nibs, orange peel, rhubarb, ginger, liquorice and coriander. The two 350ml bottles have well-sealing bungs, and the labels correspond to the recipes, which is a nice touch.
The instructions are a helpful combination of text and diagrams. Once steeped, the gin is flavoursome and pleasant.
Original dry gin: Very orange-y, and tastes almost like a liqueur. Adding tonic releases the orange blossom notes, creating an unusual but really tasty drink.
Rhubarb & ginger: The dried fruit flavour carries very well, with even more lifting once the tonic is added.
How we tested gin-making kits
We tested a representative range of gin-making kits, and scored them against the following criteria:
Quality of infused gin: The most important thing. We marked the gin on its taste, flavour, and colour (both on its own and in combination with tonic) to determine which kits made it into our best list.
Packaging: An important element, particularly if you’re purchasing this as a gift. We also looked for the use of sustainable alternatives to plastic.
Instruction manual: Part of the fun of gin-making is the process, so instructions that are clear and easy to follow are key.
Quality of ingredients: On the arrival of each kit, we looked at whether the botanicals were in good condition. Damaged and shrivelled ingredients are less likely to deliver good flavour.
Selection of botanicals: A variety of appealing botanicals make for an exciting gin-making experience.
Quality of additional equipment: The best kits come with the equipment you’ll need to make your own blended gin; for example, a funnel, sieve or strainer and sealable glass bottles. Scoops and bottle labels are also useful. If built to last, you can reuse these in the kitchen.
Value for money: Gin-making kits don’t come with the vodka you need, so we assessed each kit on its value for money. Only those that hit every criteria have been included.
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This review was last updated in October 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.