Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I received these products to give an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Okay. Gin, ice cream, and garlic don't necessarily go together at the same time, however, you can have the gin with garlic and save the ice cream for dessert, yeah? I got your back.
Up until recently, I was only vaguely familiar with Uncommon Goods. It had come up in conversation once or twice, when some friends mentioned buying things from there, and I made a mental note to check it out myself at some point. Though, I didn't actually scope the site out until I was asked if I would review some items from their kitchen and bar collection. I was really excited about doing this because I love checking out new products, especially when food and drinks are involved. Plus, it was a great reminder to check this site out and learn more about what Uncommon Goods is about.
Uncommon Goods is a retailer based out of Brooklyn, New York. It's privately owned and they strive to feature products that wouldn't harm people or animals. It's a community to support artists and designers with a platform to sell goods from said artists and designers. They sell jewelry, home décor, art, kitchen/bar goods, etc. At least half of their goods are made by hand and roughly a third of their entire collection incorporates recycled and/or up-cycled materials. Most of the jewelry, home decor, and kitchen/bar items are made here in the old US of A.
And from what I could tell just by browsing through their site alone, the goods seemed pretty awesome! I was especially swooned by their kitchen tools (shocker, I know). You can check out their kitchen tools here.
These are the items I reviewed for this post:
- A homemade gin kit (you can find that here)
- A garlic grater and oil dipping dish (you'll find that one here)
- A set of soapstone hot and cold bowls (these can be found here)
Now, let's get to the fun part!
Let's Start With Gin
I like gin. I go through phases of having it. Sometimes I end up in a bourbon phase, but recently, I've been going back to gin; with my most recent go-to being a salty dog. I also have grapefruit juice in the fridge, so I was extra excited about making my own gin at home.
The kit comes with two bottles, a funnel, a mesh strainer, and two small tins of juniper berries and a botanical blend. Naturally, it also comes with instructions!
Making this gin is a 36-hour process and requires a 750ml bottle of mid-shelf vodka. I had an unopened bottle of Absolut in my liquor cabinet, so that's what I used. Easy peasy.
I started off by adding the juniper berries to the vodka via the funnel, sealed it up, gave it a shake, then left it to infuse for 24 hours in a cool, dark place. After 24 hours, I added the botanical blend and repeated the steps of shaking it and leaving it in a cool, dark place; this time for 12 hours.
One thing to note: This could possibly depend on the bottle of vodka used, but I had to pour out some vodka in order to fit the juniper berries without having it spill over. I poured out about a shot's worth of vodka, and by that I mean, I drank it.
After 12 hours, I had gin! And it looks like the photo below. You'll notice the booze isn't clear; this is unfiltered gin and it's totally normal.
I grabbed the funnel and strainer to strain the gin into the two bottles that came in the kit.
Then I discarded the solids after straining, but I took a photo of them first. Because why not.
Homemade Gin Kit: Pros/Cons and Who It's For
Pros: It's easy! And fun. The gin also tastes pretty damn good.
Cons: I got nothing.
Who It's For: I think this would make a great gift for someone who might be interested in dabbling in DIY gin and is a beginner.
Where You Can Find It: Right here!
Garlic and Oil Go Together
This little dish came with two cards: one giving a little background on the artists who created it and one with instructions for care and use. What makes this dish unique is the rough and sharp center for grating garlic.
This piece of pottery is handmade and is designed to grate vegetables and hard cheeses. If adding cheese, they instruct you to grate that first. Of course I'm going to have cheese! I used parmigiano-reggiano.
After the cheese, comes the garlic. I used a medium-sized clove.
After the garlic, I added my herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.
Lastly, I added that tasty olive oil (extra-virgin or bust!) and let it sit for five minutes before dipping into it. Waiting is torture.
And just like that, I had a tasty, garlicky dip for my bread. I'm not going to tell you how much I ate; I may or may not have made a second batch after finishing the first. But I will tell you it was really good and I might love this little dish the most.
Garlic Grater and Oil Dipping Dish: Pros/Cons and Who It's For
Pros: Grating the cheese was insanely easy and I had a very tasty dip for my bread within a few minutes without having to worry about dirtying a knife and cutting board for the garlic, and it was nice not needing a grater for the cheese. Clean-up was easy. I used the sink sprayer to rinse away some garlic stuck in the crevices before popping it into the dishwasher. Hooray for being dishwasher-safe!
Cons: This is a very minor con, but grating the garlic near the end was a slight bit of a pain. The surface of the dish is pretty sharp, so you should be mindful of that. And because you are using your fingers to grate the garlic, your fingers will end up a little messy from it - and stinky! I washed my hands immediately after grating using one of those stainless steel bars for garlic odors and all was well.
Who It's For: It's for you and me! Who isn't it for? This would be a great gift for anybody who's into dipping bread in tasty oil. Though it doesn't have to be a gift for other people; you could buy it for yourself! I seriously love this little dish.
Where You Can Find It: Right here!
An Ice Cream Treat
This set also came with two cards: one giving a little background on the artists who created it and one with instructions for care and use. What makes this product unique is that it's made with soapstone, which is one of the most effective natural materials for conducting and retaining temperature.
The soapstone bowls are designed to keep your food hot or cold, depending on use, with the acacia wooden bowls protecting your hands from the intense temperatures.
I did not test these out for hot food because it's been 80+ degrees here in Boston for the most part. This is ice cream weather! While I didn't test them for heat, I can tell you the instructions claim these bowls can withstand heat up to 500 degrees in the oven or grill and whether you choose to add the bowls at the time of preheating or after, it should make no difference as the stone will heat up slowly and evenly and would remain hot for up to 30 minutes after removing from heat. I plan to try these out on the grill when we take that out, but until then, let's talk about using these bowls for cold foods, like ice cream!
The stone can be placed in the fridge or freezer to keep your food/condiments nice and cool throughout your meal. If you want to serve chilled bites, like ice cream, they recommend cooling the stone 24 hours before use.
So I placed a stone bowl in the freezer and left it in there for a little over 24 hours. I grabbed it with my cookie dough ice cream. Cookie dough is my favorite ice cream, just so you know.
There aren't many steps for me to walk you through here. I scooped the ice cream out of the carton and into the stone. And I placed the stone in the acacia bowl. Then I poured chocolate sauce over the ice cream and I let the bowl sit on the counter for a few minutes to see how quickly it might melt.
I wish I took a picture of the setup at the time. I left the carton of ice cream next to the stone near an open window while it was 80-something degrees out. The ice cream in the carton was melting a bit, while the soapstone bowl wasn't. I don't think I tested that out for longer than five minutes because I had to eat that ice cream; it was torturing me just sitting there. Though I did eat the ice cream relatively slowly and it didn't become soupy on me. Success!
Hot and Cold Soapstone Bowls: Pros/Cons and Who It's For
Pros: While I can't comment on how they do as hot bowls, they worked really well at keeping my ice cream from melting while eating in a warm apartment. And I was able to enjoy the ice cream without my hands freezing off thanks to the acacia wooden bowls. This set is also really nice looking. I was especially drawn to these bowls because of their aesthetics. They also clean up very easily; the stones are dishwasher safe, though I just washed mine quickly in the sink.
Cons: The bowls aren't exactly friendly on the wallet at $60 for a set of two and they are on the small side. That said, these are handmade and the quality is outstanding, so it's up to you whether the price for these is a con or not.
Who It's For: An ice cream connoisseur! Or anyone who is into unique items like this.
Where You Can Find It: Right here!
If you're in need of gift ideas, Uncommon Goods will have you covered. If you know of anyone who recently moved to a new home, any of the items in this post could make a great housewarming gift. Alternately, you can check out more gifts here. Also, Father's Day is around the corner, too! Just saying. 😉
You can visit Uncommon Goods to see other gift ideas too, such as wine glasses!