Homemade Gin with Foraged Juniper Berries

The girls and I foraged fresh Juniper Berries this last winter and I decided to try something new and make Max homemade Gin! He's so hard to buy for because he usually doesn't really care about "things" all that much, so I end up making him coupons or writing him letters or buying him socks. haha. But I want this to be my new tradition for him each year! It's special and unique and we make occasionally make cocktails together in the evenings and it feels really fun to use homemade gin. Not to mention with the birth of our Juniper Eisley, we've had an extra special draw to juniper berries lately. 

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Homemade Gin with Foraged Juniper Berries 

3 Tbsp of fresh foraged Juniper Berries (You can also purchase these at many co-ops) 

1 Bottle (About 3-4 cups) Vodka 

1 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp anise seed

Small bouquet of fresh white fir pine needles (or pine alternative if available) 

2 Small cinnamon sticks 

1 orange 

2 whole allspice berries 

1 dried sage leaf

1 dried bay leaf 

Begin by gathering the orange peel by thinly slicing about 3-4 one inch sections of peel away from the orange and set aside. In a glass bottle, pour in the Juniper Berries, coriander seed, anise seed, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, sage leaf and bay leaf. Chop the fir needles in about two 1/2 inch sections which will allow the juices to flow out and soak into the vodka. Combine these into the glass jar. Combine the orange peel. Pour 3-4 cups of Vodka over all the ingredients. Set aside for 36 hours. Strain out in separate glass jar. The ingredients can be composted or steeped in hot water to make a tea. For a stronger, much earthier gin (which I prefer!) soak for 48 hours, then strain! Enjoy over ice or use as regular gin in any of your favorite cocktails! My upcoming cookbook has a few very simple drink recipes! Pre-order your copy here if you’d like and then you can use your own homemade gin with it come May 8th! 

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Junipers are conifers which mean they bear "cones" not "berries". Only female trees provide the juniper cones and they are so compacted in, that it's difficult to see the texture of the cone unless studied up close. There are toxic juniper berries that aren't the best to work with, so be sure you check your region or order from a reputable source like this one.  With all foraging, before picking and eating any plant, berry, mushroom or anything else you find growing in the wild it is so important to know what you are doing and to be able to identify correctly everything you find. Juniper Berries can be added to scones, soups, and roasts and one of the most beautiful items to forage. Take the extra branch and needles and tie up tightly with eucalyptus and string to use as an incense all through the seasons. I'd love to hear if you make this recipe and be sure to tag me on Instagram and share your experience! I'll just be over here, becoming more and more obsessed with Juniper Berries as they days go on. 

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