About Uncle Val's Botanical Gin
In 1895, Samuele Sebastiani emigrated to the United States from Tuscany. A stonemason by trade, he quarry-mined the hills of Sonoma, California for the cobblestones used to build the streets of San Francisco. For nearly a decade, he worked long hours, lived frugally and saved carefully, and in 1904, Sebastiani purchased enough land in Sonoma to open the doors to Sebastiani Winery. Sebastiani's tireless work ethic quickly made the winery successful, and Sebastiani Winery was the only winery in Sonoma to remain open during Prohibition.
Today, August Sebastiani, Samuele's great-grandson, is the President of 35 Maple Street Distillery, the makers of Uncle Val's Botanical Gin. The gin is named after Vaerio Cecchetti, Sebastiani's favorite uncle and a retired physician near Lucca, Italy. "In addition to being a highly regarded doctor, Uncle Val is a great cook and avid gardener," says Sebastiani. The botanicals used in the gin — juniper, lemon, sage, lavender and cucumber — "are the same as those Uncle Val likes to use in his cooking and grows in his home garden." Awarded an astounding 96 points by The Tasting Panel
, Uncle Val's Botanical Gin has a complex yet subtle flavor profile. Sebastiani uses immersion bags (think big tea bags) in order to infuse the gin with the flavors from the botanicals. The immersion bags are steeped in the gin for several hours, although some remain in the gin longer in order to impart a stronger aroma and flavor.
The lemon adds a burst of crispy citrus flavor which is balanced by the calming effect of the sage. While the lavender provides for an elegant, refined aroma, the cucumber adds a cooling, subtle freshness. After the gin is distilled five times over, Sebastiani's team filters it using carbon and lava rock (or pumice), which has a porous density that's perfect for filtering gin. After filtration, the gin is brought to proof using naturally sweet spring water from the Cascade Mountains before being bottled and labeled by hand.
"Gin was invented in the Netherlands by a doctor, Franciscus Sylvius, who was a professor of medicine in Leyden, Holland, back in the 1650s," Sebastiani says. "He was trying to find a cure-all for kidney and stomach disorders, so he infused juniper berries into distilled spirits. The elixir became so popular that distillers began commercial production and by the end of the 1680s, the Dutch were exporting more than 10 million gallons of gin each year. Gin is the only spirit that started out as a medicine, so it's fitting that we named ours after Uncle Val."
Pick up a bottle of Uncle Val's Botanical Gin today!
According to Winston Churchill, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire," referring to the British officers using it to treat malaria in India.
Initially made for medicinal purposes, gin gets most of its flavor from the juniper berries added after the distillation process. It sure has come a long way from the Middle Ages, with the introduction of new botanicals, fruits, and spices, bringing it closer to people of all flavor varieties.
Check out our impressive selection of gins, find your new favorite in the Top 10 gins, or explore the Best gins under $50.