The pure alcohol you get as a result of good hobby distillation is pure vodka. You can flavor it with vodka essence: it is one of the most commonly sold, but you can also use it as vodka without flavoring. If you want a flavored vodka, why not make a Citron Vodka or Currant Vodka and get a fresh and fruity taste?
You can also flavor your alcohol with fruits and herbs. If you have an old local recipe, use it. But if you want to make commercial quality gin from Juniper berries or even a very easy flavor like citron vodka, you must know some facts.
To make a good gin you need super quality juniper berries from a special area. You cannot simply buy them: the essence … herb … and liquor … industry buys them, often before harvest. And there are more ingredients in gin, many other herbs.
If you try to make liqueur from fruits you end up with a liqueur with limited shelf life. If you extract some herbs you probably do it in your alcohol directly.
The essence manufacturer first buys the best herbs available, then extracts them with a mixture of alcohol and water in another strength and with a certain time limitation. Different strength extracts give different aromas, and there can also be a mixture of 2-3 different extractions of different strengths and extraction times.
The essence manufacturer often uses a new technique: carbon dioxide distillation. With this you can create a great taste of, for example, a fruit. More than this, you can split up a fruit aroma into many aromas and mix some of them back together, ending up with a taste greater than that of the original fruit. And you can sell what’s left to a manufacturer of cheaper essences. The strong distilled aroma you get you can use in liqueur and get a shelf life from 5 years to perhaps 50 years.
Flavoring alcohol is a great hobby. Do try, but start properly. If you put a piece of lemon in your vodka you have no chance to compete with Absolut Citron, not in the same day. Start your flavoring with essences, and if Prestige essences from Sweden are available, start with them and change only if you find some elsewhere of the same quality. When you are experienced in making good products with good alcohol and quality essences, then you can start testing to flavor your own gin, etc. Then you can go on. There is no limit, and there is a lot of literature in this area.
About essences: use only essences made from natural or nature identical aromas. If it is not clearly stated of the ingredients that it is made from natural or nature identical ingredients, do not use them. If the ingredients are declared as aromas or food aromas or similar, they are probably cheap, synthetic aromas, and you do not want to know what the are made from. A manufacturer always reveals natural and nature-identical ingredients, as this is proof of quality and proof that there are no synthetic aromas used.