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Gin making - and the headache with the louche

So - I have just completed my first test batch of my “New West Africa Gin”. 

The botanicals are quite unique - instead of other gins, which are “balanced” or have a rather citrussy and floral note, this is packed with spices... 

As I used a ton of botanicals (but did cut of a small amount of heads and a generous amount of tails) the spirit came clear into the my distilling container - however then when I watered it down (to ca. 47% ABV) it just punished me with a solid louche.

I researched in the internet, and most website suggested, that you have to cut of more heads and more tails or chill filter it. All of these things will result into a clearer spirit, but also with far less botanicals. I tasted the first 10ml of foreshots, and they were not “funky” at all - very solid - actually very good (despite of a really high alcohol content). 

I made a “high essential oil” gin before (basically it was a dating gin - this is a story for another time...) and the gin was also cloudy. However after several weeks, it really cleared up. 

First attempt at this product was the magnetic stirrer - but then I became inpatient. The next step was adding the gin to a 65ºC water. And eureka - after few minutes the gin totally cleared up.

I colored the gin then with butterfly pea tea blossoms - and it became green (after I added a bit bicarbonate of soda). Not sure, if I stay with that (but it is changing into a light purplish-pink, when mixed with tonic, so it is pretty cool. 

But point is, that the louche disappeared when I put it into the water bath and heated it up - and even the room temperature tonic water I tried it with didn’t “activated” the precipitation. 

So: if you have gin which became cloudy, just warm it up...

In future I will though go through other things to not get again into “louche trouble”:

  • Add little water at the time - to just keep the essential oils suspended and not “force them out”. 
  • Warm up the water just a little - warm liquid will eventually keep essential oils better suspended as cold water.
A full review will definitely follow later. But gin needs a bit time to “settle down”.
It is already clear for me, that I like to use more orange peel (more trouble - because far more essential oils) - reduce slightly the juniper and amp up coriander (because it supports citrussy flavors as well) and cocoa nibs. Also I could not get my hands on tonca beans - this is definitely a must ingredient as well...


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