Gin is hot in Barcelona. Restaurants and bars all over the city are serving up beautiful gin and tonics, in bucket-like goblets to be devoured by willing punters. And now you can even make your own gin in Barcelona. My friend Brian and his business partner Pablo have developed their own gin distilling business, Corpen Distillers, and offer the chance for you to learn all about this delicious spirit, try several of their recipes in the gin tasting, and to make your own gin in their gin making course. Corpen’s 3-hour gin making class in Barcelona has even been named as one of the top Airbnb Experiences in the world, by Travel + Leisure magazine! Despite earning this accolade, Corpen’s gin making class remains one of the best-kept secrets in Barcelona, so don’t miss it!
What is Gin, and how do you make Gin?
OK know-it-alls, I had no idea what gin is made of, and was surprised to discover that gin is made from vodka. Confused? So how is gin made from vodka? Well, in order to make gin, you need to start with a pure, flavourless spirit – vodka. You then mix and infuse the spirit with various botanicals (flavours like juniper berries, coriander seeds, citrus peel and eucalyptus) and distil the alcohol. All gin recipes have to have juniper berries, and basically, the rest is up to you! Once the alcohol has evaporated in the still, leaving behind the bulk of the botanicals, it condenses again to leave you with a delicately flavoured alcohol we know and love. Gin.
Corpen Barcelona Gin Distillery
In a world where beer lovers are creating micro brews left, right and centre, Brian and Pablo have taken on a different challenge, to create beautiful homemade gin. Their business began as an experiment, distilling various flavours to see if they could create a tasty gin recipe. Now Corpen have three delicious recipes that they use in the class, and they are always working on new flavours.
The Gin Making Course in Barcelona
Distilling gin really isn’t as difficult as I had expected, although obviously, you do need certain specialist equipment to distil the gin. And of course, all the hard work was done by Brian and Pablo refining the gin recipes!
The gin class is held right in the centre of town, next to Plaça Reial just off La Rambla. After introductions, Brian served us up a gin cocktail welcome drink, and began to explain the background of Corpen Barcelona, and of gin in general. Also on my course were an American couple on their honeymoon; the gin class is more popular with tourists as they only advertise it on Airbnb Experiences, but the gin making class would also make a great gift for a special occasion for anyone living in Barcelona. Corpen also offer the classes in Spanish, as Pablo is originally from Colombia.
Once we’d learned the basics of the theory of how to make gin, it was now time to get down to business! Brian poured out a small sample of three homemade gin recipes to taste. We then each chose our favourite, and this would be the one we would make. Also, to make sure we had made the right choice, Brian served us up a gin and tonic made from our favourite gins.
He then gave us each our recipes to make the gin. We carefully measured out the ingredients and popped them into our own personal stills (except the eucalyptus which was left to infuse in some vodka), and while we waited for the vodka to absorb some of the flavours we had some yummy snacks. When the infusing time was up, we began to heat up the vodka and botanicals, and watched carefully with stopwatches to check when the still reached certain temperatures, and when the distilled gin began to drip out of the other end.
The smell of alcohol filled the room – and Brian pointed out that lighting matches right now would be a bad idea! I hadn’t thought about how flammable alcohol was, and Brian explained where the word ‘proof’ came from, when the sailors wanted proof that their alcohol on the ship hadn’t been tampered with, they would light some on fire to prove it was pure!
It took surprisingly little time to distil the gin, and in a little over half an hour we had several beakers filled with the clear, flavourful gin. We took measurements of the temperature and alcohol content, to determine the exact percentage of our homemade gin, and poured it into a bottle to label and take home with us. I named mine ‘Hair of the Dog’ as I was suffering a little from the previous night’s debauchery. It was very cool to have in my hand my very own gin!
There was enough gin left over to make another gin and tonic (although I sadly had to decline due to my worsening hangover) and we all took photos of our creations.
Details of the Gin Making Class in Barcelona
The class is for over 18s only.
The maximum class size is six people, to allow for lots of personal attention and help when you are making the gin. Larger groups interested in the class should contact Brian and Pablo to see if they could host a larger group.
The class usually takes between three to three and a half hours, so plan accordingly.
We had a welcome cocktail, and two gin and tonics, as well as the tastings, so you may well leave the class feeling rather tipsy!
Your homemade gin will be in a 250ml bottle, but if you need to put it in hand-luggage you can ask for smaller bottles.
What I loved about the Gin Making Class with Corpen Barcelona
The gin! Obviously, this class is a fabulous gin experience, and I loved how we could choose our favourite recipe to make. Corpen don’t scrimp on the drinks either, so for three drinks and tastings, and snacks, I felt the class was excellent value for money.
Anything I didn’t like?
What is not to like? I loved the class, and how much I learned about gin and the history of alcohol in general. I would highly recommend the class for any gin lovers who fancy doing something a bit different on their vacation to Barcelona.
Do you want to book a gin making class in Barcelona with Corpen? If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link for a discount off your first stay (not applicable with experiences, unfortunately!).
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My gin making class was complimentary, but as always, all opinions are my own, and the fact I loved the class clearly influenced my review!
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