THE DUTCH MADE IT FIRST, probably in the early 17th century, and called it genever after the juniper berries that made its base. Over centuries, the name evolved into gin, and today many of the best-known brands of gin are made far from its land of origin. Now to gins produced in Great Britain, the United States, Spain, Germany and other countries, we can add Brazil’s McQueen and the Violet Fog.
Made in the hills of Jundiaí in southeastern Brazil, McQueen and the Violet Fog is distilled from 21 botanicals gathered from around the world. According to the company, six of the 21 botanicals have rarely been found in gin. They include Vietnamese star anise, Mediterranean fennel seed, basil leaves from India, Portuguese rosemary, South Pacific calamansi and Brazilian acai. Using two distillation techniques, maceration and vapor infusion, the company makes the gin in traditional pot stills in small batches, producing only 500 liters at a time which, in turn, makes just 55 cases of gin.
Such care may be the reason McQueen and the Violet Fog is the smoothest gin I remember ever tasting. It boasts a voluptuous, satiny texture and an evocative, complex taste. It is rich, floral-scented and citrusy with a subtle spiciness — altogether, a complex, intriguing gin ($35–40).
Enjoy McQueen and the Violet Fog on the rocks or with tonic water, soda, fresh lime juice or ginger ale. Or, as its producers suggest, make a Violet Fog. Pour 1½ to 2 ounces of McQueen and the Violet Fog and 1 ounce lime juice in a glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir.
Its name brings up a question: What does McQueen and the Violet Fog mean? It is the name of a poem about a mysterious rock band written by a poet who calls himself, simply, Atticus. The last two stanzas of the poem are printed on the back of the gin’s bottle.
As one fan of the spirit said, when life gives you lemons, add gin, tonic and ice and drink. Better still, make that gin McQueen and the Violet Fog.
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