Who in the crowd likes gin? My guess is that most of you are sticking your tongue out in disgust at your computer/phone/tablet. Tonight I found myself in good company, a bit of a gin lovers collective. Even though this was considered a couples lab at the Bonfire creative space, Artis was the only person in the group actually coupled with the person she brought—married if we want to get a bit more specific. Artis: petite and soft-spoken with an excited smile on her face, was our gin master.
I was greeted with a cocktail before I even had the chance to sit down and while I had only set out to document the event, Artis warned me, “you will want to be a part of this”. Never had I heard such true words. Artis created Snake Oil after the historic Snake Oil salesmen of the 19th century,selling natural remedies before the advent of modern medicine. And gin, heralded for its botanical richness, was of the many remedies used during that time period. Her love of gin coupled with her botanical knowledge prompted her to create Snake Oil and her gin lab has begun to gain some traction with this being her first interactive workshop.
Artis, armed with her own crafted gins, first explains that gin must contain juniper to even be considered gin. From there, you build when flavor profile with things like rose petals and lavender if you are going for a lighter, floral flavor. Or, if you are looking for looking for a deeper flavor—or if you are trying to convince a gin hater that they are wrong—add anise and cardamom. The point in this exercise is two-fold; 1, gin can taste like more than just pine tree, contrary to popular belief, and 2, gin can easily be made in your own home, to your liking.Snake Oil gin lab kits come with everything you will need to begin making your own homemade gin, the only thing you need to supply is a hankering for good gin and your favorite vodka. That’s right, I said vodka. Steep your vodka with a blend of juniper berries and other botanicals for 24 hours and you have created your own gin. Included in your gin lab kit, you will find a couple of cocktail cards, providing you with new inventive ways to use your new gin blend. I knew it was the beginning of the beautiful friendship when Artis admitted that while she loves a classic gin and tonic, she’s always looking for other, more creative gin-based cocktails. Artis helps get you started with her own gin blends and provided cocktail creations, but the full potential of the gin lab is up to you.