The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2014

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september 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  69 B uild two measures of wine heritage, one part entrepreneurial spirit and a few dashes of charisma. Combine into a shaker, then pour into an original glass with a twist. August Sebastiani is the modern expression of the dignified Sebastiani family that has helped shape wine production in Sonoma for over 100 years. In 2006, August combined forces with his siblings in a venture called The Other Guys or "TOG," as a sales division for Don Sebastiani & Sons. One handshake at a time,with August at the helm, the hard work would pay off, making TOG an independent business unit in three short years. Driven by the same innovative spirit as his father and grandfather, who boldly introduced sherries, ports and grappas to the family winery, August pioneered his new company into the booming craft spirit market, introducing the world to 35 Maple Street Spirits. "We wanted to learn everything we could. We would trek to these amazing bars in San Francisco and ask all the dumb questions, hoping to see what we could work towards." The bar-hopping proved invaluable, solidifying a concept that would produce a portfolio consisting of sublimely distinct, over-achieving spirits: Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, Kirk and Sweeney Rum and Masterson's Whiskey. The 35 Maple Street approach to spirits mirrors the values TOG consider for their wines: "We want to tell a story, not fight for well-placement. We're going to inch our way up the ladder with integrity and over-delivering for our price point," August firmly states. Distilled in tranquil Bend, Oregon, Uncle Val's Botanical Gin is testament to their craftsmanship and honors Uncle Valerio, a physician and avid gardener with a love for his native Tuscan cuisine. "We infuse this gin with his favorite cooking ingredients: fresh lemon, cucumber, sage, lavender and, of course, juniper," August chuckles. A sip begins with a burst of fresh lemon, giving way to warm, calming lavender and concludes with cool cucumber while maintaining a subtle yet firm structure from the juniper. The brand has recently rolled out Uncle Val's Restorative, a tip of the hat to the good doctor's medicinal heritage with new wellness botanicals like rose petals, and looks to release Uncle Val's Peppered Gin later this year. Family man first and foremost, August has a bustling home life with four kids running With an arsenal of craft spirits, 35 Maple Street Spirits is already offering well-coiffed cocktail-mak- ers. Rolling out in coming months, Bib and Tucker Bourbon will be adding power to this portfolio. "In the Old West, a 'bib and tucker' was your Sunday best," August notes of the brand's name, "and we're dressed to impress." Sporting the finest domestic mash bill, each carefully crafted bottle of this small batch bourbon is hand-numbered, ensuring authenticity and scarcity. After a long six years in the barrel, this bourbon ain't a lick and promise; it's a bona fide gem of a whiskey sure to warm you up this upcoming fall season! The Masterson's Whiskey range at Untitled 111 in Chicago is a crowd pleaser: "We carry over 400 North American Whiskies, but I have to admit I'm in love with Masterson's Rye," says Bar Manager Mike Karberg. "The rye profile is so clean and fragrant, it stands out in my portfolio and my guests ask for it by name." PHOTO: JACOB HAND Kirk and Sweeny Rum's subtle oaky-vanilla notes have won over bartenders from Sonoma to New York: Here, Bar Manager Jessica Liberto of Revel Restaurant in New York, shows her love. PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG Dressed to Impress

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