Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Me and My Uncle

The Family and  Gin

Uncle Val

      As I am want to do from time to time, I took a tour of the local liquor stores in search of something new to be found in the gin section. Having espied Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, I decided to take it home and give it a try.  The number of  craft gins seem to be multiplying exponentially, which is a good thing.  With so many choices how can one decide?  It's better to consider your choice as an adventure of different tastes rather than a choice of absolute good vs. evil.  This isn't the garden of Eden after all. 

      You probably are familiar with Sebastiani Winery started by Samuele Sebastiani 110 years ago.  But now, a fourth generation Sebastiani, August, began 35 Maple Street as the spirits division of the famous wine company family.  Company president August Sebastiani named the handcrafted, small-batch gin after a favorite uncle, Valerio Cecchetti, who is a retired physician near Lucca, Italy. “In addition to being a highly regarded doctor, Uncle Val is a great cook and avid gardener. The botanicals we selected for this unique gin — juniper, cucumber, lemon, sage and lavender — are the same as those Uncle Val likes to use in his cooking and grows in his home garden,” Sebastiani said.

Uncle Mike

      There must be something about uncles and gin that go together like a good gin and tonic.  I have to give credit to my own Uncle Mike who introduced me to gin at the evening campfires on the many hunting and fishing trips we went on along with my father.  He would always bring a bottle of Tangueray to make his "medicine".  He would make a gin and tonic with it and add a splash of Squirt to top it off. As I got older, I was given charge of making the "medicine" and eventually enjoying it myself.  Good Memories....

Grateful Dead 

      Uncles heading out on eye opening and sometimes life changing adventures with their nephews is a recurring theme among songwriters. The Grateful Dead made famous the song "Me and My Uncle" which was actually written by John Phillips of  The Mamas and the Papas.  The narrator and his uncle traverse the southwest back in the days of the old wild west.  A poker game leads to a brouhaha and the pair escape with the gold. Unfortunately, there is no gin drinking involved, as whiskey was the pervasive drink of choice in that environment.  Jimmy Buffet strikes a similar chord, pardon the pun, with "Pascagoula Run."  

     Getting back to Uncle Val,  the gin is distilled 5 times from grain.  They are really going for a clarified product here.  It is then passed through lava rock, a natural filter, to purify the spirit. There are actually 3 varieties produced- Botanical, Restorative, and Pepper. The herbs for the botanical variety include Juniper, lemon, sage, lavender and cucumber and are infused by steeping them in the neutral spirit with a bag just as you would with tea.  The spirit is cut with water from the cascade mountains, then bottled and labeled by hand. 

      To date, I have only had the opportunity to sample the botanical variety.  This gin offers a very up front citrus taste which is balanced with the sage and lavender.  It tails to a cucumber freshness, all with a juniper background that is always present but not primary in taste.  This is somewhat unique among gins, as you don't get any of the otherwise ubiquitous pepper, coriander, or anise flavors common to most gins.  This is one best had neat with a twist in my opinion.  I look forward to tasting the other varieties- The pepper sounds most intriguing.  As he always referred to it as medicine, I think Uncle Mike would prefer the Restorative.  


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