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How we make our gin

The are several different methods of making Gin, each of them producing a slightly different product and different purities of spirit. Distillers use one of these methods or a combination of methods. We produce a London Dry Gin so macerate and then distil. The method that we employ involves the maceration of our botanicals in a 96% ABV Neutral spirit from Grain.

The botanicals are carefully chosen in order to give us a consistent flavour, though seasonality may bring slight differences, our distiller is able to counterbalance these differences in order to produce a consistent product.

The botanicals (14 of them) are steeped in a neutral spirit in order to extract the oils which contain the flavour. This method extracts not only the flavour, but also colour which is not desirable, we require a clear spirit.

The distillation process is exacting and can be affected by seasonal temperature variation and other influences, the skill of the distiller enables us to overcome these influences to again maintain consistency of product.

After a 24-hour steep we then prepare for our distillation, this involved the removal of some of the botanicals before the still is heated, these botanicals, known as sinkers would sink to the bottom of the still and potentially cook or burn, which would affect the flavour of the finished product.

We then pre-charge our still with a percentage of purified water to our required % of Alcohol By Volume, and start the distilling process.

As the still begins to heat the liquids within the still are converted to vapours as the different compounds reach their boiling point. The first to emerge from the still will be the heads, compounds some of which that we do not want, they are not harmful but do impact on the flavour. We take out approximately the first 15% of the distillate in small quantities and run a series of demisting tests on the spirit, once we get to a spirit that remains clear through the demisting tests, we then collect the Hearts, the first cut has been made.

As the Hearts emerge we find that the botanicals emerge at different times for example citrus and juniper emerging at the beginning of the hearts, and coriander emerging near the end. We also see the temperature within the swan neck of the still starting to rise as the alcohol vaporises (boils off). We are now looking to do a second cut, it is very important that this cut is done at the right time, or we leave some of the hearts in the tails, or we have tails in the hearts, both to be avoided.

Once we are at the end of the hearts we then collect the tails or feints, these are not discarded as they do contain a high percentage of alcohol. We keep them back until we have an amount that is sufficient to do a stripping run, whereby we strip the flavour and concentrate the liquid back to a neutral spirit with a high % ABV.

What we have now produced is a London Dry Gin of between 80% and 90% ABV. We then cut back our spirit with de-mineralised water to produce a spirit of 42% ABV for our Signature Gin and 48% ABV for our Veterans Strength Gin.

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The Bespoke Gin Service and Gin School.

The Hooting Owl Distillery is offering a service where it will develop a bespoke Gin for clients. The Gin Will be Unique and only available for the client, though the recipe and method of production will remain the property of The Hooting Owl Distillery.

This offer is for wholesale clients, though subject to costs and minimum batch quantities, the offer could be taken up by individual retail clients.

This offer could allow clients to develop a Gin using botanicals that grow locally to them, or develop a unique Gin to suit a specific dish (for example).

The total development cost for a bespoke Gin will be the following.

£240 + Vat Development Time
£6 per litre for Neutral Grain Spirit used in the development process, plus duty at £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol
£10 + Vat for botanical processing
£0.45 + Vat per mile travelled during the development process
£100.00 + Vat Accommodation charge if an overnight stay is required

The client can come to Hooting Owl Distillery and overnight in the onsite self-contained holiday cottage, (Two Bedrooms, Two Bathrooms). Or we will visit the client at their premises.

09:00 discovery

An hour spent looking at botanicals suited for the geographical location or the bespoke dish, tasting the botanicals and understanding how they will influence the Gin.

10:30 Botanical preparation

11:00 still preparation

11:30 The distillation

14:00 Blending

15:00 final finishing and tasting of the finished product.

We will supply bespoke Gins at a minimum quantity of 24 bottles £888.00 including VAT (Duty Paid). The Gin will be labelled Hooting Owl Signature Gin, with a supplementary label explaining that the product is bespoke distilled for the client.