“You know this kit doesn’t make real gin,” said the woman at the checkout counter.
She reached over and tapped the top of the Homemade Gin Kit — which I was fully prepared to spend $50 on. Inside were two artisanal (!) bottles, a steel filter, a steel funnel, a tin can of aromatic botanicals, and a tin can of dried juniper berries. In my excited rush, I’d assumed that these were the only items needed to make your own gin. Now, in the liquor store checkout, I finally noticed the fine print on the side of the box reading, “Transform a regular bottle of vodka into an extraordinary bottle of gin.”
“Dammit,” I muttered. “I should have known the liquid had to come from somewhere.”
Like my personal history with women, my experience with gin can be described as nothing short of sordid. The first time I drank the spirit, from a cheap plastic bottle, I thought it tasted like chemical burn and Christmas trees. It wasn’t until later, after I read The Great Gatsby, that I started to appreciate gin as an upscale, sophisticated drink — not as capricious as vodka, but not as brutish as whiskey. It’s delicate and flavorful and adaptable, plus it boasts a transformative property that makes it the perfect base for some of my favorite cocktails.