If, like me, you’re partial to a good, well-mixed G&T then why not make your own at home with a gin making kit? This way, you can have almost every flavour, colour and style you can think of, and create an artisan gin exactly how you like it. Gin kits also make great gifts.
Here are the best artisan gin making kits I’ve found so far that you can buy online in the UK. All of them use good quality botanicals and some include a presentation bottle, too. Most artisan gin making kits usually come without a base spirit such as vodka, so a list of suggested vodka brands is also detailed at the end of the article.
If you want to know a bit more about the whole process of making your own gin at home, some common questions are also answered later on.
Sandy Leaf Farm Ultimate Gin Maker’s Kit (link to check the price on Amazon)
Best for: Multiple batches, including Pink gin and Christmas Gin
- Makes eight bottles of different homemade gin flavours
- Recipes include pink gin and Christmas gin
- Includes tasting pipettes so you can taste progress easily
- Includes lifetime support from Sandy Leaf
- Gin making process is about a week
- Does not include vodka
Sandy Leaf Farm are one of the best-known companies producing real gin making kits in the UK. One of their major plus points is that they offer lifetime support with any purchase, so you can contact them if you have questions or need help using your kit. I bought one of these for a friend’s party and we had a great time making and trying all eight bottles, as you might imagine.
Make Your Own Gin Kit Bespoke Blend (link to check the price on Amazon)
Best for: Making your own precise flavour blends
- Includes both pre-packaged blends and separate botanicals so you can mix your own
- Includes sieve, funnel and other equipment
- Also includes presentation bottle
- Makes two bottles – not as many as some kits
- Does not include vodka
This kit is ideal for those who know what kind of flavour profiles they like in their gin (fruity, spicy, herbal and so on). If you want to make your own botanical blend, this kit gives you more flexibility over the flavours you can create. The bottle looks good too and it’s an ideal all-in-one kit.
Colour Changing Gin Infusing Kit (link to check the price on Amazon)
Best for: Impressing guests or for parties
- Includes natural blue pea flowers so the gin changes from blue to pink when you add tonic
- Has a long shelf life
- Makes four bottles – not as many as some kits
- Does not include vodka or a bottle
This kit is ideal for a date night or a girls’ night in, which is when I tested it (at a hen party). If you wanted a pink gin making kit, this one’s worth considering since it starts off blue and/or purple, and then adding tonic makes the gin turn pink. Great for a ‘wow’ effect at dinner parties, too. The botanicals are pre-packaged, so you can easily create the gin but can’t make minute adjustments to the flavour.
Gin and Tonic Premium Gift Set of Cocktail Botanicals & Spices (link to check the price on Amazon)
Best for: Pimping and augmenting your existing G&Ts
- Not an infusion kit – it’s to adjust the taste of an existing G&T
- Very high-quality presentation and ingredients
- Perfect gift for a G&T aficionado who doesn’t want to make gin from scratch
- Limited instructions – guide is on the inside of the box
- Need to already have a G&T in hand (is that a bad thing?)
This kit is a little bit different. It’s not for infusing vodka to make gin, but to add spices and botanicals to an existing glass of gin and tonic. The kit comes with a selection of high-quality botanicals that are beautifully presented with a jigger and mixing spoon in the kit case. These include things like pink pepper, Ceylon cinnamon and cardamom. You add a couple to your G&T to alter and augment the flavour to your preference. I am now addicted to cinnamon in my G&T and wish I could get it in a bar!
The Artisan Gin Maker’s Kit (link to check the price on Firebox)
Best for: A good basic kit for beginners
- Includes a pre-blended botanical mix and juniper berries
- Includes equipment such as funnel and sieve
- Includes a nice-looking presentation bottle that you can personalise
- Only makes one bottle
- Does not include vodka
This one is a good, solid basic kit for infusing one bottle, with a pre-mixed blend. If you’re new to making gin and want a simple and straightforward infusion to start with, this is a good option. The bottle looks nice, too – ideal for showing off your new personal gin supply in.
Want a kit to make your own tonic as well?
MOLECULE-R R-Evolution Gin and Tonic Kit (click to check the price on Amazon)
Best for: Making your own tonic as well as different gins and cocktails
- One of the only kits to make your own tonic
- Also includes ingredients to make weird gins such as Parma Violet flavour
- You can do very fancy molecular cocktails too
- It’s more advanced than just the infusion kits
- Does not include gin or base spirit
It was only a matter of time before tonic kits were created to sit alongside all the artisan gin making kits, but this one’s a little bit more involved. This kit can help you make flavoured tonic, but also gives you other chemicals for crazy gin flavours, like Parma Violet. If you also want to create cocktails using basic molecular gastronomy, such as liquid pearls or foam in a drink, this is the way to do it.
Common questions about gin making kits:
I have a kit – can I just buy the botanicals to make gin?
If you like making your own gin (or tonic) and you want to expand on your gin adventures after using a kit, you can go on to purchase your own spices and botanicals separately. Many of the above companies sell their blends or ingredients on their own for you to top up supplies.
Can you really make your own gin at home? Is it legal?
It’s completely legal. Gin is made from neutral grain alcohol that is infused with botanicals. You’re doing the infusing, not the alcohol production, which would require a still and a license. If you’ve ever picked sloe berries to make sloe gin, you’ve done something similar.
The first time I made gin at home I was reminded of dodgy Prohibition “bathtub gin”. It’s not like that – it’s very respectable to make gin with a kit. So respectable you’ll be giving home made gin to your friends as presents and making your own range, if you fancy.
Do I need any specialist equipment other than the gin making kit?
No – you just need a quality base spirit such as a good vodka (a list of suggestions is below) and a clean bottle to infuse everything in. Most people use the same vodka bottle if the kit doesn’t include one, though some kits also provide attractive bottles for you to present your gin creation in. You don’t have to use vodka – but it’s a good neutral spirit to start with. Other people might get creative and use schnapps or other similar spirits.
Next you’ll need the botanicals, which are usually provided in the gin making kits. These can be any combination of natural flavourings such as herbs, berries and so on. Alcohol can be called “gin” if it’s more than 37.5% ABV and one of the botanicals is juniper berries. Since you’re doing this at home, you don’t need to abide by such stringent definitions so you can include whatever you like! Many of the kits have a great selection of botanicals to try, but you can also buy them separately and go wild with different combinations.
How long does it take to make gin at home?
Many of the kits will produce results after 24 hours upwards. This is great if you only have a days’ notice for a party or get together and want to serve your own homemade gin to your guests. Infuse the gin one afternoon and you can be sipping it the next evening. It’s just enough time to consider which tonic will go best with it! Other, more complex kits can take about a week.
Which Vodka is best for making gin?
Many gin making kits specify that you’ll need “good” vodka but don’t go into specifics. So which vodka is best for making gin with a kit? If you’re just experimenting and would like something cheap and cheerful to start out with, most of the usual brands will do – you don’t need anything special.
However, if you start with great quality vodka you’re much more likely to end up with a much better gin. Fewer impurities and better distillation in the base grain spirit mean that the flavours you pick for your gin will really shine through. Quality vodka also has a smoothness that will lend itself very well for using with an artisan gin making kit.
Here are three suggestions for basic, mid-range and the best vodkas to use when making gin:
Basic: Smirnoff Red (click to check the price on Amazon)
This is a good, solid vodka for starting your gin making kit experiments with. It’s not the smoothest in the world as it’s usually used to mix with other drinks, but if you don’t want to splash out, it’s a great start.
Most people have heard of Grey Goose, an excellent mid-range gin from France. It’s usually used in quality martinis and similar cocktails so lends itself very well to making gin.
This is the Bond villain of vodkas, straight out of Moscow. It has its own vintage and is released in limited quantities, like a fine wine. The “soft” in the name refers to its extreme smooth qualities, as it’s distilled fourteen times. If you’ve got quality botanicals and want a smooth, clean tasting gin, this is a stand-out option.
Considering that most bottles of artisan gin cost more than a kit, gin making kits are a more adventurous and cost-effective way of getting a gin and tonic exactly how you like it. They also make fun gifts for gin lovers, too.