What is Bathtub Gin? (And How to Make It At Home!)

The Gin craze is here! And, with more and more people curious about different types of gin, it’s no wonder we’ve been getting a bunch of questions about the infamous ‘bathtub gin’.

What is Bathtub Gin?

There are two types of bathtub gin, the historical kind which is how the name originated, and the contemporary take on this drink.

Bathtub gin refers to an alcohol-based drink mixture produced at home or anywhere using non-professional methods. The name was invented in the 1920s during the alcohol prohibition. Bathtub gin was considered bootleg and was poor in quality, but it remained popular due to its availability.

Nowadays, bathtub gin refers to a gin infusion made at home with commercial alcohol. Typically this recipe takes fresh fruit, sugar, and a cheap bottle of gin or vodka. It makes a sweet, fruity liqueur with a gin base.

Why Is It Called Bathtub Gin?

Before the prohibition, gin was a popular spirit in America, preferred mainly by the upper class. It was consumed more than vodka and rum. After the ban took effect, gin became scarce and was no longer available. However, there was still a demand for it. And so, bootleggers, who were also called speakeasies at that time, met the demand by producing a drink that approximated gin infusing cheap grain alcohol with juniper berries as flavoring.

It was called bathtub gin because the bottles they were using were too large to fit in the kitchen sink. And so, they would place the containers in the bathtub and fill them up with tap water. They added water to the mix to cut the cheap, low-quality alcohol, which had an unpleasant taste and was high percentage ABV.

The idea that the drink was poured right in the bathtub was mere speculation, as many would say distillation requires a closed apparatus. Hence, it was highly unlikely that they put the mixture in the bathtubs.

Is Bathtub Gin Still Made Today?

Nowadays, bathtub gin is made and sold for cultural nostalgia and for a fun cooking project. You can still make one at home or buy a commercial brand that manufactures it as a specialty spirit.

Keep reading, as we’ve shared our 3 favorite DIY bathtub gin recipes at the end of this article.

So, What Is a Compound Gin?

A compound gin is the more modern and safe version of bathtub gin that also involves infusing berry and fruit essences in neutral grain spirits.

This is different from a true gin because it doesn’t involve distillation.

Distillation at home without a license is illegal in most countries so making a true gin simply isn’t possible for most of us. That’s why making a bathtub gin is such a fun way to make your own alcohol without breaking any laws!

Does Bathtub Gin Go bad?

Being alcohol-based which makes for an excellent natural preservative, bathtub gin, if stored away from the sun unopened, would likely last for years. You can even be aged in casks for a smoother, rich, and more mellow body.

The enemy of course is oxygen, so make sure the bottles of your final product are filled to the top, and well sealed with a cork or screw top. Once opened, we’d recommend drinking within a few weeks to make sure the flavors don’t get a chance to deteriorate.

Don’t worry – due to the high alcohol content there’s no chance the drink can harbour bacteria and make you sick.

Does Bathtub Gin Contain Sugar?

This depends on the style. A bathtub gin made with neutral alcohol, juniper and spices might have no sugar whatsoever.

Most bathtub gins however are fruit infusions and contain roughly 17 grams of sugar per 125 ml.

How Many Calories are there in Bathtub Gin?

If we take the sweetened bathtub gin above (which is probably a worst-case) it would contain 283 calories per 125ml.

How to Make Bathtub Gin at Home (A Step by Step Guide)

Recipe #1 The Classic Bathtub Gin Flavor

This base blend combines the three must-have ingredients of the bathtub gin. It included juniper berries, coriander seed, and angelica root. Enjoy this blend straight and simple with an option to add whatever you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml vodka
  • 35 grams of Juniper berries
  • 10 grams of coriander seeds
  • 10 grams of angelica root

Things you will need:

  • 800 ml glass jar
  • Sieve
  • Coffee filter
  • Kitchen Scales (for measurement)

Step 1

Sterilize the glass jar by washing it in hot and soapy water. Wipe dry and let air dry as well.

Step 2

Pour 750 ml vodka into the jar (you may use normal quality vodka)

Step 3

Add Juniper berries, Coriander Seeds, and Angelica root in the jar with the vodka. Swirl around to mix.

Step 4

Cover the jar with a lid and let steep for 24 hours in a cool dark place.

Step 5

After steeping for 24 hours, sieve the mixture by pouring it into another glass container. Then, put a coffee filter back into the mason jar or the vodka bottle for final filtering. The gin may become yellowish, and that is perfectly normal. Store your bathtub gin away from sunlight and make a fruit punch by adding juice or any other desired flavor when you are ready to use it. Or you can enjoy it neat and clean with ice.

Recipe #2 The Fruity Blend

This type of bathtub gin offers a citrusy-fruity blend that uses juniper berries and fruit peels from fragrant citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and grapefruit.

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml of inexpensive neutral grain spirit (or you can use vodka)
  • 15grams of juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon of (0.50 fl. Oz) caraway seeds
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 peels grapefruit
  • 2 peels of oranges
  • 2 peels of lemon

Things you will need:

· 800 ml glass jar

· Sieve

· Coffee filter

· Kitchen Scales

Step 1

Sterilize the glass jar by washing it in hot and soapy water. Wipe dry and let air dry as well.

Step 2

Pour 750 ml vodka into the jar.

Step 3

Add the juniper berries, caraway seeds, star anise, and all the fruit peels with the vodka in the jar. Swirl around to mix, then cover the jar with the lid.

Step 4

Let steep in a cool dark place for 24 hours. After steeping, open the lid and taste the gin if it is all ready to your liking. If you want to make one flavor stand out, add more of that desired ingredient, then close the jar and steep for another 12 hours.

Don’t hesitate to taste your gin since It’s your mix and your option.

Step 5

Once you are satisfied, filter the botanicals with a sieve and do final filtering with the coffee filter. Enjoy!

Recipe #3 The Exotic Blend Special

This blend combines spices and fruits to achieve a complex yet desirable body for your gin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 70cl bottle vodka
  • 14 grams juniper berries
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1/4 stick cinnamon
  • 6 grams coriander seeds
  • 4-inch clementine peel
  • 4-inch lemon peel

Things You Will Need:

  • 1-liter glass jar
  • Pestel and Mortar
  • A sieve, coffee filter, coffee filter funnel
  • Muslin cloth
  • Kitchen Scales (for measurement)

Step 1

Sterilize the jar by washing it in hot soapy water or the dishwasher.

Step 2

Using pestle and mortar, grind together juniper berries, cardamom pod, and coriander seeds. Do not grind them to a pulp. Just enough to release flavor.

Step 3

Put the crushed ingredients with the clementine and lemon peel all together in the glass jar.

Step 4

Add the vodka into the mixture, close the bottle and let steep for 12 hours or overnight. Add or reduce the ingredients as desired.

Step 5

After 12 hours, strain your gin by placing the muslin in the sieve and covering the jug. Pour out the liquid mixture, and at this point, you will see that the spirit will be cloudy, and that’s okay.

Step 6

Use the funnel to pour back gin into the glass vodka bottle.

Step 7

Store for a few more days to a couple of weeks to let sediments settle and allow the flavor to mature.

Step 8

After storing, use the coffee filter twice to do final filtering. Then, pour yourself some to taste and enjoy.

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