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DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe: A Splash of History and a Dash of DIY Fun!

DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe
Image by CocktailTime from Pixabay

Ever heard of bathtub gin? No, it’s not gin you make while taking a bubble bath, though that would be quite the multitasking feat. Bathtub gin refers to homemade spirits brewed up in rather amateur conditions. This term first made a splash in 1920 during Prohibition when folks got creative (and a bit desperate) to keep the party going with some homemade hooch. What better way to connect with history then to make your own DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe

Back in the Roaring Twenties, gin was all the rage. But since you couldn’t exactly pop down to the store for a bottle, enterprising souls mixed cheap grain alcohol with water and a smorgasbord of flavorings like juniper berry juice and glycerin. The challenge was making enough to supply the secret speakeasies without tipping off the cops. So, they needed big but sneaky containers. And what was more perfect than the humble bathtub? Metal or ceramic, those tubs were just the right size. Hence, the termbathtub ginwas born.

However, let’s bust a myth here: you can’t actually distill gin in an open bathtub. Distillation needs a closed system to boil and condense the booze. So, those tales of brewing spirits directly in the tub are more tall tale than true story.

Many classic gin cocktails, like the Bee’s Knees, owe their zingy existence to bathtub gin. These drinks were invented to mask the not-so-delightful taste of the homemade brew.

DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe: Time to Get Crafty!

Fancy a bit of Prohibition-era fun? Making your own batch of bathtub gin today is a cinch! You start with a clear alcohol, usually vodka, and jazz it up with some delightful flavorings. Here’s a nifty recipe to get you started. Grab your scale because precision is key here.

DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe

DIY Bathtub Gin Recipe: Time to Get Crafty! Fancy a bit of Prohibition-era fun? Making your own batch of bathtub gin today is a cinch!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bathtub gin


  • vegetable peeler
  • small saucepan
  • quart-size glass jar
  • coffee filter


  • ½ ounce fresh cilantro use stems and leaves, weigh before washing and drying
  • ounce lemon or lime peel use a vegetable peeler to get just the peel; Meyer and Bearss lemons are great
  • 3 grams fresh marjoram leaves about 2 lightly packed tablespoons, no stems
  • 14 to 16 juniper berries available at health food stores and specialty markets
  • 2 to 4 green cardamom pods crushed; use more if you love that menthol vibe
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 8 ½ fluid ounces vodka we used Smirnoff
  • 3 ⅜ fluid ounces Trebianno white wine a bone-dry Italian white wine, known as Ugni Blanc in France


  • Pop all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
  • Heat over medium-high until bubbles appear at the edges.
  • Lower the heat to medium and set a timer for 2 minutes to let those aromatics really open up.
  • Turn off the heat, transfer everything to a quart-size glass jar, and cap it.
  • Let it steep at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours.
  • Strain through a paper coffee filter, and voilà! Your homemade gin is ready to sip and savor.

So, why not give it a whirl? You’ll not only impress your friends with some deliciously unique gin but also with your knowledge of its wild, Prohibition-era past. Cheers! 🍸

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/tom69green-750068/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=653336">timothy green</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com//?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=653336">Pixabay</a>
Image by timothy green from Pixabay

Cocktail Recipes Using Your Homemade Bathtub Gin

Now that you’ve brewed your own gin, it’s time to shake up some classic cocktails! Here are a few delightful recipes to get you started:

Bee’s Knees

A Prohibition-era favorite, this cocktail is the bee’s knees!


  • 2 oz. bathtub gin
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. honey syrup (mix equal parts honey and water)


    1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
    2. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
    3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Gin Fizz

Light, refreshing, and fizzy – perfect for any occasion.


  • 2 oz. bathtub gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup
  • Club soda


    1. Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice.
    2. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
    3. Top with club soda and stir gently.
    4. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Classic Martini

Simple, elegant, and timeless.


  • 2 ½ oz. bathtub gin
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist or olive, for garnish


    1. Stir the gin and vermouth with ice in a mixing glass.
    2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
    3. Garnish with a lemon twist or olive.


Bold and bittersweet, the Negroni is a true classic.


  • 1 oz. bathtub gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth


    1. Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.
    2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
    3. Garnish with an orange peel.


A refreshing and minty delight.


  • 2 oz. bathtub gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup
  • 4-6 fresh mint leaves


  1. Muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker.
  2. Add gin and ice, then shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Enjoy these cocktails with your homemade bathtub gin, and toast to the spirit of creativity and history! Cheers! 🍸