Tag Archives: Barrel Aged Gin

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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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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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

No. 209 Gin & Chardonnay Barrel Gin – Month of Gin Double Take

Last spring I had the opportunity to visit the west coast and the outstanding distillers in the San Francisco Bay area but I had no idea how much I would learn.

209 Rocket Centry

Mid Century Modern Vintage Barware and Furnishings Provided by Rocket Century 

I had always had a natural affinity towards No. 209 gin. Crisp citrus without over whelming the spirit, light bright cardamom, juniper , orange and baking spices. I even had a guest at the Gin Room that traveled from across Europe searching for No 209 gin as they were told by a trusted bartender that it was the only gin that could satisfy their gin interest. Interesting to see how far people will travel for something standout.

We arrived at Distillery No. 209, built over water and positioned directly at sea level on renovated pier 50, the natural cooling properties of San Francisco Bay water beneath the pier keeps the distillery at a perfectly crisp temperature all year long.  Distillery 209 has a rich history dating back to the late 1800’s when wine maker William Scheffler began to dabble in the world of spirit distilling in under the distillery licence number 209. Food and wine entrepreneur Leslie Rudd purchased the property in 1999, and began the revival of what is now No. 209 Gin.

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This is where the Gin Girl was impressed. Operating as a one man show, Distillery No. 209 is run by the lovely engineer turned distiller Arne Hillesland and his gorgeous pot still “Rosie” a 1000 gallon beauty of a copper still. Arne himself is a wealth of information and a first mover in world of contemporary gin, elevating the concept of what gin can be gin when only a couple hand fulls of gins were out there. Not only taking the risk of distilling gin and only gin years ago when gin was a mere dot on the spirit map, but also took the risk to spread this wonderful contemporary gin around the world by exporting to London and Europe.

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Arne spoke at a gin seminar Juniper Ascending put together by Ginnoisseur Keli Rivers at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans earlier this month with other innovators; Beefeater’s Desmond Payne, Aviation Gin’s Christian Krogstad and Alexander Gabriel of Mason Ferrand’s Citadelle Gin. Was a honor to be in the presence of such trailblazers.

Arny 209 at Tales

No. 209 gin is a corn based spirit which likely adds to its creamier mouth feel, but the most exciting part of No. 209 gin is the quality of the botanical’s used. I can say I had tried quite a few gins and sifted though a health dose of juniper, but the bright juicy berry-esk of the Italian juniper used in No. 209 gin caught me off guard. I wanted to take a bowl with me and treat them as a snack. Arne’s “Bot Cave” held other robust botanical gems including black cardamom, cassia bark and Bergamont orange. We couldn’t get enough of our visit.

After all my adventures through the Bot Cave and distillation, my real excitement was revealed when I noticed their barrel aged gins gathered in a corner. Three varieties taking advantage of their winery roots including aging in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Barrels.

Barrel 209

The chardonnay aged gin was an immediate standout, from the medium body, lingering pine notes and a perfect balance of warm spice, citrus and savory. Enough body for mixing and light nuances for sipping straight.  The mellow French oak of the chardonnay barrels allows the botanical’s to shine sharper, light pine and savory lavender, a bit of crisp warm spice from the cardamom, bright pepper and citrus lingers through the finish. A solid barrel aged gin and gin girl favorite of the three No 209 aged gins.




New Holland Barrel Aged Kickerbocker Lauch at The Gin Room

I say that I’ve always been a Gin girl, but perhaps that isn’t fully true. Never really was a big drinker, but I always had my default drink. A chilled extra dirty martini with olives please! Little did I know that my favorite beverage could get better, until I met my match; a dirty GIN martini!!!! Although I got over the strange look that bartender gave me when I interrogated him about what he did different to make the most delicious martini I had ever had. (Thus far at least) He looked down at me with a puzzled look and said, “Vermouth, olive juice and Gin” My world had been thoroughly rocked. I was officially a Gin Girl.


But it wasn’t until I met the beautiful blue Knickerbocker bottle that I realized that my love of Gin went much further. Overall less dry than most London Dry Gins, Knickerbocker has a well balanced array of botanicals that satisfy your cravings and keep you wanting more. Citrus without overwhelming, bright juniper and light floral nose all come together in what I find to be quite a knock out product from Michigan’s New Holland Brewing. This Gin, Knickerbocker, was and always will be my “Gateway Gin!” My love of Gin and the expansion into The Gin Room can all be linked back to one little bottle of Knickerbocker….

Knickerbocker Logo

New Holland Brewing Barrel Aged Knickerbocker Gin Launch Party

Tuesday August 5th 6:30 to 8:30


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Barreled Rebellion : Barrel Aged Knickerbocker with Clock Work Orange!

Clockwork Orange Barrel Aged Knickerbocker

The Stash

New Holland Booze

 Distillers Take Over Events! Only @ The Gin Room!

The New Holland Guys

The New Holland Guys Clay and Rich with The Gin Girl at the Barrel Aged Knickerbocker launch at The Gin Room