If you've ever wondered what makes a good gin — or envisioned creating your own secret concoction a la Beefeater or Hendrick's — South Florida Distillers cofounders Joe Durkin and Avi Aisenberg have a class for that. The duo recently launched an innovative educational class dubbed "I Made This," a straightforward name for the distiller’s latest venture that introduces locals to the art of creating your own unique spin on gin.
With locally grown sugar cane aplenty, South Florida Distillers was the first to bring a locally made rum to Broward County. The creators of Fwaygo, Durkin
The duo's do-it-yourself gin classes, held every Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m., kicked off last year, utilizing an open space at the distillery's newly expanded location in Fort Lauderdale. Here, gin enthusiasts can pair up or work solo to craft their own signature
"What you choose is up to you, but each recipe must contain some measure of juniper berry, cardamom, and Angelica root — the three main ingredients that separate gin from your average vodka," says Matt Plunkett, South Florida Distillers' associate distiller.
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The two-hour gin making class begins with a short, 15-minute brainstorming session led by Plunkett, also the distillery's event coordinator. During the course, Plunkett educates students on various types of gin and the spirit's basic distillation process before sitting them at a table where botanicals are arranged for sampling purposes. Sniffing is standard, and taste testing optional.
"We encourage people to rub, sniff, taste, and experiment with the ingredients,"
Once you've chosen your own unique blend of botanicals, the distillation process begins. Each batch is placed into its own mini still for up to 60 minutes, allowing the chosen ingredients to infuse into the spirit. During your class, expect plenty of face time with Plunkett, an informal tasting of the distillery's spirits produced in-house, and a mini cocktail hour. From there, Plunkett assists with measuring your gin for
South Florida Distillers. 2608 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954-541-2868; southfloridadistillers.com.