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making gin from apple eau de vie


suzypingree

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San Juan Island Distillery (we get our permit from the TTB this week, according to them!) will distill our Westcott Bay Cider into apple eau de vie with a pot still. We are thinking either a Kothe or a Carl 3 plate still, haven't bought it yet. Our ultimate goal is a fine apple brandy from our prize-winning English-style cider, but we need something to sell while the brandy ages. So we are thinking of using some of the eau de vie to make gin. What do you think, can we do that?

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I think if you want to call it a gin, you have to start with a neutral spirit (vodka), as well as have the predominant juniper flavoring. Check the definition with the TTB. Of course, you can always make a flavored spirit with the character of gin from any spirit, such as an eau du vie. If the neutral spirit is required, you won't be able to do that with a 3 plate system. But you could get neutral spirit from another source, and redistill in your facility to produce the gin. Someone correct me if I am wrong (in part because we are specifically also trying to set up our facility to do both eau du vie and gin, along the lines I have described).

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Using a flavored base or a mash is fine via the BAM, as long as you have juniper dominant, and it's historically appropriate too.

http://www.ttb.gov/s...am/chapter4.pdf

(Type) Spirits with a main characteristic flavor derived from juniper berries produced by distillation or mixing of spirits with juniper berries and other aromatics or extracts derived from these materials and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)

DISTILLED GIN Gin produced by original distillation from mash with or over juniper berries and other aromatics or their extracts, essences or flavors

REDISTILLED GIN Gin produced by redistillation of distilled spirits with or over juniper berries and other aromatics or their extracts, essences or flavors

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I think a gin could work. You'd have to balance the juniper flavors a bit and you might end up using your best cider for your brandy and looking at other apple variety bills that give you something you can use as an undertone (and maybe cheaper).

However you might experiment with non-aged or limited aged apple brandy in an eau de vie or german apfel schnaps style. I've tasted some in the past where i did not miss the lack of oak character and the apples shined.

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DISTILLED GIN Gin produced by original distillation from mash with or over juniper berries and other aromatics or their extracts, essences or flavors

REDISTILLED GIN Gin produced by redistillation of distilled spirits with or over juniper berries and other aromatics or their extracts, essences or flavors

For the former, I was unsure if there was any limitation on the mash type, and for the latter if the source distillate had any limitations. But agreed, I don't see anything in the BAM that indicates the source of the mash or distilled spirits, unless you do a "compounded gin", and that is probably the source of my confusion.

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