All-In Gin: Distillation Methods Explained

G’day gin lovers! Are you new to the world of gin and keen to know how it’s made? Well, one of the most critical parts of the gin-making process is distillation, which involves heating alcohol and botanicals to produce a concentrated spirit with the flavours that we know and love.

There are several methods commonly used in alcohol distilling, each with its own unique benefits and quirks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common distillation methods used in gin-making.

Pot Distillation

Pot distillation is one of the oldest methods used in gin-making (and other spirits like whisky). This involves heating a big pot filled with a neutral spirit and botanicals – sometimes after mascerating or steeping for several hours. The vapour produced by the heating process is then rapidly cooled and turned back into a liquid (also known as condensing), and collected in a separate container. This method is like putting the kettle on to make gin, except we’re catching the steam, and turning that back into a liquid, after the botanicals have make it tastier!

Also known as vapour infusion, column distillation is a more modern method that uses a tall column filled with a series of mesh plates or trays. The alcohol vapours flow through a basket of botanicals to take on flavour. As it travels on through the column, it’s repeatedly heated and vaporised to purify. The vapour is then condensed, and comes out as a super strong gin. This method is great for delicate oils and botanicals that may be destroyed if boiled for long periods of time in alcohol, which is why columns are a common addition to hybrid stills. This method is like a fancy gin-making skyscraper, with each level refining the spirit and making it more pure.

Vacuum distillation is a relatively new method that heats the alcohol and botanicals in a vacuum-sealed chamber. The reduced pressure inside allows the alcohol to boil at a lower temperature, which helps preserve delicate flavours and aromas from the botanicals. This method is like giving the gin a gentle massage, or cooking sous vide – reserving all the lovely botanical oils and not overheating to lock in all the flavour.

All-in-one distilling, or the one-shot distillation method, means the whole recipe of botanicals are distilled in one go. This is in contrast to a multi-shot distillation run, where single botanicals are individually distilled in larger quantities, and then later blended to create the desired flavour. Most craft gin distilleries use this method, despite being more difficult to master. It’s more time-efficient to have the still running for smaller batches, and the flavour output creates something greater than the sum of its parts. Seasonality of botanicals can make them more or less flavourful, requiring tweaks to the recipe to ensure a consistent final flavour. Fractions of a gram can make all the difference here!

While each distillation method has its pros and cons, the type of distillation used isn’t the only thing that determines the quality of the gin. Other factors, such as the quality of the botanicals, the expertise of the distiller, and the finishing process, also play a crucial role in creating a high-quality spirit.

So there you have it, folks! Next time you’re sipping on your gin and tonic, you can appreciate how the distiller’s choice of distillation method has helped to create your favourite drop. 


Sign up for delicious and exclusive gins like Ester Spirits Dry Gin delivered to your door, every month!

For $99, receive our featured gin, perfectly paired tonics and garnish, snacks, a gift and a glossy magazine choc full of recipes and distillery stories.




Puss & Mew Honey Coconut Gin gin blog

Puss & Mew Honey Coconut Gin

Garden Street Collector's Series Edition One gin blog

Garden Street Collector's Series Edition One

This gin is a nod to you, our members. We’ve tasted hundreds of delicious Australian gins over the years and every year our tasting panel has the (really terrible) job of choosing their 12 favourite gins to share with you. It’s tough competition and they’re a very picky bunch!

Twelve months ago, we floated the idea of making something exclusively for our members; something one off and never to be repeated. It needed to be something for the collectors to add to their gin shelves and moreover, we had to make a product we were proud to share, and one delicious enough to get past our tasting panel!