10:30am Saturday morning and I have one thing on my mind: gin.

After trundling through the leafy south Oxfordshire countryside for nearly an hour on a deserted number 11 bus, I get off in the village of Chalgrove and make my way to Chalgrove Artisan Distillery.

Only running since June, Chalgrove Artisan Distillery offers gin fans the chance to take part in an immersive gin school where you take control of a copper alembic still and create your own OX gin.

The distillery is tucked away on Monument Park, a business park near the airfield, which is flanked by endless blackberry bushes along Monument Road. A fruit which I later learn is used by the distillery to ‘colour’ their pink gin – talk about keeping it local.

Chalgrove Artisan Distillery is a family-run business founded by Jenny and Bob Clark along with their son Ben, who all relocated from West London in the 2000s.

All of their OX gins are named after Oxfordshire postcodes and are stocked by pubs, shops and restaurants around the county and beyond.

Created without any formal training, four of the Clark’s gins have gone on to win prestigious awards, putting Chalgrove on the map for gin making.

Oxford Mail: Chalgrove Artisan Distillery's The Sipping Room Chalgrove Artisan Distillery's The Sipping Room

I was welcomed to the distillery by Ben, who lead me into the distillery’s bar – called The Sipping Room – and straight away offered me a drink. I chose to go for their OX2 Pink Gin.

With its leather sofas, soft woody tones and peasant patterned pillows the bar felt like a cosy country pub. This – combined with the jackfruit, ginger and rhubarb flavours of the gin – gave me a truly warm and autumnal sensation.

Following this I was taken to the place where the magic happens and shown around the distillery, with its multiple copper alembic stills.

Oxford Mail: Inside the distillery at Chalgrove Artisan Distillery Inside the distillery at Chalgrove Artisan Distillery

Now, the reins were handed over to me.

Like a kid in a candy store – or a gin fanatic in a distillery shall I say – I was provided with an eclectic, Willy Wonka-mix of botanicals to pick from.

These botanicals ranged from juniper, rosemary and lemon to turmeric, dandelion root and pink peppercorns. There is also the option to bring in your own botanicals to the distillery, such as fruit from your garden, if you wish to use them in your gin.

After I had picked my flavours – apricot, pineapple, peach, lemon, orange peel, pear and chillies – I measured each botanical out and wrote the weights down. This meant that if I wanted the distillery to recreate my gin in the future then they could refer back to my exact recipe.

Oxford Mail: All the botanicals laid out for me to choose from in the distilleryAll the botanicals laid out for me to choose from in the distillery

Once measured, I put the botanicals into a muslin bag and placed it in the still above the base spirit.

Chalgrove Artisan Distillery’s base spirit is comprised of a neutral grain spirit which is 96 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume), with its base botanicals including juniper berries and coriander. Once the base botanicals are added to the spirit it is left to macerate for 24 hours.

The base spirit in my still had been macerating since Thursday and so was more than ready to be distilled.

A flour mix was used to seal the still, ensuring no alcohol escaped the process and was wasted. The still was heated to between 80 and 86 degrees which caused the alcohol to condensate, absorbing the flavours from the botanicals, and then re-liquify when it reacted with the cold which the tubes run through.

The liquid which then slowly dripped out of the still was gin flavoured, certainly, but at an eye-wobbling 80 per cent ABV it is definitely not recommended for shots.

To make it drinkable, I needed to ‘cut’ the alcohol by diluting it with spring water, taking the ABV from well over 80 per cent to 40 per cent.

All was left to do after this was to bottle and label the gin, which I could only call Sophie’s Choice, and of course give it a try.

The verdict? Absolutely gin-tastic if I do say so myself.

Oxford Mail: Officially a gin scholar, with my completed bottle of Sophie's Choice Officially a gin scholar, with my completed bottle of Sophie's Choice

Upon my successful completion of the gin school I was given my 70cl bottle of gin and a cap and gown, officially allowing me to graduate and call myself a ‘gin scholar’.

The OX gin school is available to book at Chalgrove Artisan Distillery for £85 per person or £125 for two people sharing one copper still.