Monthly Archives: August 2016

Uncle Val’s Gin – Month of Gin

Sometime you slip into a spirit and you know its going to fit like a glove. A menagerie of layers that excite your palate with every sip. Meet the 3 Badge Mixology Uncle Val’s Gin Portfolio; Botanical, Restorative and Peppered gin. All three gins showcase a spectrum of Contemporary style gin, masterfully distilled.

Uncle Vals Event Photo

Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin 

Layered with citrus, lavender, sage and pine notes and cucumber this gin is anything but ordinary. I call this gin a cocktail in a bottle. Pour this gin over ice and a bouquet of flavors await you, or try it in a Val’s Porch from The Gin Room combined with lavender bitters, lemon and simple sugar syrup.

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Uncle Val’s Restorative Gin 

Citrus and crisp pepper on the nose, this gin has juniper, coriander, cucumbers and rose petals but in a very different format than the botanical gin. More mellow and extensively mixable this gin combines savory and a light soft sweetness to create a balanced spirit.

Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin

No. It’s not what you think. It’s much much better. Vegetable red bell pepper notes, bold almost agave like character with a smooth hint of smokiness. I’ve been blown away by the creativity this gin sparks in my fellow bartenders. I got to make a fantastic carrot based Bloody Mary {Red Snapper} with it at Tales of the Cocktail this year, with a hint of spice and sweetness that made it addictive.


Barrel Aging Uncle Vals Use 2

Soooo, those of you who know me, know of my obsession with barrel aged gin. I’m hooked.  A few years ago I took to my own experimenting and picked out gins with distinctive flavor profiles to be manipulated by the process of barrel aging. Barrel Aged Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin is one of the masterpieces.  Aged for 7 weeks in single use un-charred oak barrels, the bold citrus of the gin mellowed out a bit and created a more pronounced spark to each and every botanical in the gin. Bold yet mellow, this gin is to be sipped and savored straight or over a rock with a twist.

3 Badge Mixology

Now let me tell you about this company, 3 Badge Mixology. Yes I did swoon over Uncle Val’s Botanical but it was the people behind this company that made me fall in love. Imagine a company that seeks out the best distillers, the best ingredients and the best product and packaged it all into a portfolio you are proud to promote. I met the distiller of this wonderful spirit, a women of great many talent I came to learn {She is a pilot and chemist and engineer oh my!….} and picked her brain on every element of it. This spirit was no accident, well thought out and deliberately fantastic.

Tales of the Cocktail

This year I made my maiden voyage into the extraordinary insanity that is Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans. I wandered there by way of 3 Badge Spirits and this exceptional team of human beings {Bartenders of course!}. We rocked out a daunting number of cocktails, serving over 1,800 guests and having the time of our lives. Each one of them was brought together for the passion and overall love for the hospitality world. They say 3 badge beverage corporation is built upon a philosophy of commitment and craftsmanship. In my experience so far I would be apt to believe them.

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Sipsmith Gins – Month of Gin

Enter the world of Sipsmith Gin and there is no turning back. One of my absolute favorite martini gins this  bright, juniper forward, juicy botanical masterpiece will introduce you to what the world of gin really can be.


I had the pleasure to visit the Sipsmith Distillery while I was in England last month. Cast inside a warehouse setting in the residential area in Chiswick, this immaculate distillery is literally a hidden gem.

I met their three main Carl stills and Carter Heads; Prudence a 300 Liter still they acquired in 2009, Patience and Constance leading at 1500 Liter capacity.  Each still plays a particular and distinct role in this well oiled gin making haven.

And then there was Jared Brown. Knowledgeable Historian, masterful distiller and over all a man of worldly character.


The distillery makes a few other gins, exclusive preparations for Raffles and the House of Commons .

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But personally the Very Juniper Over Proof VJOP gin takes juniper to another level. By incorporating a three day maceration process and doubling the amount of juniper used in their classic London Dry, placing the extra juniper in the Carter Head botanical basket allowing a lighter extraction of the top notes of the juniper.


Above are the experimental collection of gins and variations to be found on the walls of the Sipsmith Distillery in London. You must visit this treasure and keep a bottle of gin as a regular at your home bar or local watering hole.



Koval Gins – Month of Gin

Koval was one of the first distilleries to launch in Chicago producing organic whiskey from grain-to-bottle in traditional and non traditional single grain single barrel expressions. Their still is a beast and a beauty with copper column that will impress by sheer size and presence let alone the spirits they produce.

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Koval Gin 

But we are here to talk about the gin.

Grain to bottle as their whiskey’s, this beautifully herbal and floral gin commands a presence. Most interesting, I found this gin is distilled from rye, spicy, creamy boastful rye. This gin has a meaty mouth-feel, bold with herbaceous and floral notes at the nose. Rose hip, savory herbs, juniper, angelica and enveloped with a bit of citrus this gin will make you want to taste it, over and over.

The distinctive label on their gin has also garnered a lot of attention. The bottle features an intricate, laser-cut design created for Koval by Sonat’s sister and her firm Dando Projects and has won numerous design awards.

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Koval Barrel Aged Gin 

Open up this bottle of graciously aged gin and you will open up a gem. Bold layers of savory, citrus and pine this barreled expression of Koval gin will open your palate to the wonderful complexities that can come from a bold, grain forward gin. This rye based gin is aged for upwards of six month is used Koval Bourbon Barrels, likely adding the slightly sweet vanilla notes on the finish.

Whiskey lovers pick up this gin and try it in an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan, or better yet try it over a rock with a lemon twist and you will not be disappointed.

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I got the pleasure to meet the woman distiller behind this rock star gin. Sonat Hart and her husband Richard Birnecker uprooted their lives from their professorial careers in Washington, DC to move back to their home town of Chicago to launch this award winning distillery. The Birneckers have carved out a unique niche showing off the attributes of each individual grain in it’s element at 100% rather than in blends, giving you a glimpse into its distinct flavor profile that you cannot not getting from a blended mash bill.

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Anchor Distilling Gin – Month of Gin

Established in 1993 out of San Francisco, California Anchor Distilling Company is a producer and importer of a wide collection of spirits and four uniquely standout range of gins with a focus on 17th & 18th century methods and styles.

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Anchor Junipero Gin

My first look into Anchor Distilling was through their flagship Junipero gin that I fell in love with while working at a gin bar in Washington DC. Known for it’s bold juniper forward character, this gin can shine in any tonic and add structure to your cocktail. Herbaceous, juniper forward, bold baking spices with a crisp finish, this gin is for gin lovers.

Anchor Genevieve Genever

I have a weakness for the Dutch Holland born spirit that is Genever. A bridge between the malt goodness of whiskey and the botanical haven of gin, this spirit is generally distilled from barley malt, rye and wheat grain mash.

Genevieve Genever is made in that 17th century style, with barley, wheat  and rye malt distilled with botanicals in a pot still. You can smell the dominant nose the moment you open the bottle, I call it “Distillers Cologne” smelling of fresh sour mash. The palate is spicy, bold with rye and barley grain notes with a dancing of the same botanicals found in their Junipero gin yet espressed quite differently in this malt based spirit. Genevers were called for in the original cocktails, but the spirit is best enjoyed straight or chilled and can often be

Anchor Old Tom Gin

Anchor’s Old Tom gin is one of their newer products in their portfolio and in the tradition of Old Tom gins it has an element of sweetness in it, this version has traditional sweeteners of star anise and licorice root as well as Stevia, natural sweetener. This gin was a salute to Captain Dudley Bradstreet that created a funnel in the form of a cat that distributed illicit gin during prohibition. As patrons put money in the cat’s mouth and the gin would be poured from a pipe under the cat’s paw.

You can taste the sweet licorice and star anise in this classic rendition of an old tom gin, perfect in a Martinez or a medley of other classic cocktails calling for a slightly softer gin.

Berry Bros and Rudd No. 3 Gin

When I first met the beautiful bottle that is No. 3 London Dry Gin I wanted to swoon. I did swoon. Then happily sipped it into the evening calling it my favorite gin of 2015. This gin is what I call an epitome of a sipping gin. The name No.3 refers to the address in St James’s Street, London: their home since 1698.

Warm spice noted flow through this gin with orange and grapefruit peel, cardamom, coriander, angelica root and a bit of lavender and pine they suggest stems from the juniper. Drink this gin neat, or chilled with a orange bitter and citrus zest and you will find yourself a contented consumer.

The Tour

I had the pleasure of visiting the distillery of Anchor Distilling this past spring and was lucky to find distiller Kendra and Kevin on premise.

I got to pick their brains on why they chose to focus on  17th & 18th century spirits and the concepts behind their standout spirits.

Anchor Distilling has 3 copper pot stills and just bought a new large Scottish still to add to their dynamic.

Anchor Distilling at Gin Festival 2016

Anchor Distilling at Gin Festival 2016

Journeyman Gins – Month of Gin

Bill Welter at Journeyman

When you meet Bill Welter you know you are about to have an experience. Seemingly quite, this bearded booze guru will  make you rethink how you drink.

You have likely already falling in love with their Whiskeys, Corset’s Whips and Whiskey and their Last Feather Rye are a few of our favorites name after the abandoned corset factory that was the building that now houses Journeyman Distillery.

I has the opportunity to visit their new digs in Three Oaks, Michigan and gush over their shiny new stills and columns and get my hands deep into a vat of Bilberries, of the gins namesake.

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Journeyman Gin 

Light crisp citrus on the front with light pepper notes and a custardy mouth feel on the finish. Perfect for a classic Aviation cocktail.

Journeyman Barrel Aged Gin 

Strongly on the oak side of the barrel aged gin spectrum, this gin is bold on the wood and glimpses of the botanicals shining through. Whiskey lovers try this bold whiskey-esk gin on a rock or mixed up in a Martinez or Old Fashioned spin.

Bill Welter 2015

Corsair Gins – Month of Gin

Meet a distillery in the heart of America’s booze trade, Kentucky and Tennessee, know best for their innovative and adventurous spirits. With a motto “Booze for Badasses” Corsair Distillery was formed by a few childhood friends Andrew Webber, Darek Bell and his wife Amy Lee Bell who focus on focus on new recipes for spirits using alternative grains, unconventional smoked grains and unusual botanicals. Corsiar Image


Corsair Distillery joined us in St. Louis in May for the 2nd Annual Gin Week and Gin Festival  and rocked out many of their soon to be launched products including the standout Major Tom Old Tom Gin. From the owners to the distillers to every person that works within this rock star distillery, you know they put their unconventional loving hearts into their products to make  spirits that will excite your senses.

Currently the Corsair portfolio consists of 5 Gins:

Corsair  Artisan Gin

Lightly vegetal, hints of citrus and a bit of juniper

Barrel Aged Gin

A boastful gin aged in used spiced rum barrels

Major Tom Gin

Full of flavor yet soft sipping worthy, Barrel Aged Old Tom Gin


Being a massive fan of the malt profile of genevers, this malted barley based genever has a warm, ginger, citrus and a hint of baking spice

Steam Punk

An experimental gin made with smoked grain, hops and traditional botanicals, tastes of smoked cherry wood, menthol and herbaceous.

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Each and every one is worth a savor.

Hayman’s Gin – Month of Gin

Rocket Century Hayman's

My journey through England passed through the world that is Hayman’s Gin. 5th generation distillers of a range of traditional gins, this gin family dates back 150 years . Each bottle of Hayman’s gin has a tale to tell. Its design was inspired by original, old gin bottles that had been safely tucked away in Christopher Hayman’s collection for years.


I had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie, a 400 Liter Carter Head Still named after the family’s Matriarch  Marjorie Burrough, the link to the great heritage of gin making.

Hayman's Botanicals

Each gin in the Hayman’s Family of gins uses 10 distinct botanical’s, specially manipulated to produce each gin from their Old Tom to their Naval Strength, which supplied the navy’s thirst for gin on the River Thames side of country.


One of the more interesting gins in their portfolio is their Sloe gin, a classic tipple in England made from the abundance of Sloe berries in the country’s backyard’s. Their London Dry gin is soaked approximately 4 months in Slow berries allowing the skins to harden and the berries to burst open, naturally exuding cherry and almond notes.

Family Reserve Hayman's

One surprise in the portfolio was Hayman’s Family Reserve, a bottle not yet distributed to the United States but one that very well should be. This gorgeous mellow gin is rested three weeks Scotch whiskey barrels,  creating  breath-ability and boosting the botanical notes of the gin. An absolute must try and we hope to get this gin in the States soon.

Come meet the most widely representative family of Hayman’s Gin.