Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a gin that’s been peppered— thrice.
Other gins in the Uncle Val’s lineup, including their Restorative Gin and Botanical Gin are boldly flavored. Peppered Gin is the only one that takes a left turn from the expected and ends up with some unusual née unique botanicals. It uses pimento, black pepper and bright red bell peppers.
In contrast to other pepper gins, such as Ginnifer’s Chili gin or Gin Fuego, Uncle Val’s peppered gin is not designed to be a hot sauce spicy gin. It’s a savory gin that uses an array of flavorful, slightly smokey peppers without being piquant.
Like the others in the Uncle Val’s line, Peppered Gin is produced by 35 Maple Street Spirits/3 Badge Beverage Corporation and is distilled out of Bend, Oregon. It has a neutral base distilled from grain.
The nose is peppery. It has a slight fresh vegetable character with notes of deeply roasted serrano peppers and dusty cayenne.
Peppered Gin is mild and savory to the palate. As I said above, this is all pepper with no hot pepper. The juniper is mild and towards the front and mid-palate. It’s enough to signify this isn’t a bell pepper and pimento flavored vodka, though gin traditionalists may find Uncle Val to be far right of center— this is contemporary gin.
Quiet early, Peppered Gin has more roasted bell pepper with mild piney juniper. It becomes slightly smokier late palate with notes of charred bell pepper flesh, charcoal, and smoked paprika.
The finish is fairly long with a smokey char and mild chili powder flavor.
Throughout the palate, Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin doesn’t add much to take away from the pepper-forward concept. It’s clear in its vision and well executed, capturing quite delicious flavors from unusual botanicals like bell peppers.
Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin lends itself nicely to savory gin cocktails like the Red Snapper/Gin Bloody Mary.
I’m fascinated by the savory Gin and Tonic. It’s as unusual as it is good. I think lemon pairs slightly better than lime, but make sure you don’t use a tonic that is too sweet. The sweeter it gets, the more the pepper begins to taste like charred tomato and sweet Italian Restaurant Gravy†.
I’ll say though, I love this in a Martini and Negroni. It’s a bit unusual but the flavors really work.
Overall, Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin
I’m amazed that it hadn’t been done before. The combination of peppers and juniper might not be the material of Flavor Bible legend, but they work incredible well together. Distillers who venture to use vegetables rarely stray further than old standbys like cucumber. But Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin is proof there’s fertile ground here to be mined.
But back to the gin— Peppered Gin is fun. It’s delicious. It’s probably the perfect brunch gin, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Highly recommended in its category.
† Growing up, on the Italian side of my family, my uncles were insistent— no red sauce isn’t sauce. It’s gravy.