It was at a wine party—I lay in a drowse, knowing it not.The blown flowers fell and filled my lap.
– Li Po, The Solitude of Night
There’s an intriguing variety of gin for those of us who aren’t overly fond of juniper. A few brands have come up with additional spices and herbs to more or less mask that flavor that puts some drinkers off.
McQueen and the Violet Fog is not the first gin I’ve had that didn’t taste like gin. In Taiwan, my local bar introduced me to Kenobi gin from Kyoto, Japan, which had a wonderful aroma and flavor with a bit of a burn at the end (it also made a great negroni). Unfortunately, Kenobi is out of my price range at about $70 here in the US.
I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this bottle of Brazilian gin that I had been gifted. It came in a fancy box and a heavy bottle, which means it’s probably overpriced. Presentation does not always equal quality. In this case, it lived up to the appearance.
McQueen and the Violet Fog is a smooth gin that mixes some wonderful herbal and botanical flavors. Most prominent among the flavors are pomelo and lemongrass, both of which hide the juniper.
As I’m not a gin fan, there aren’t many cocktails I make. The only gin cocktail I know how to make and enjoy is a negroni — it’s easy: one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, one part Campari. But the Campari and vermouth tend to overpower flavors in gin, which is part of why I like the negroni.
In particular, McQueen and the Violet Fog is more mellow than other gins, meaning the flavor in a negroni is more subtle (take that however you see fit, gin drinkers).
While trying to figure out what else to do with this gin, I decided to try a simple gin and tonic with lime (more lime than most people would likely put in the drink). It was okay, but I don’t really enjoy gin and tonics.
The better option for me was mixing it with ginger kombucha. This works out great for drinkers like me who like a strong ginger flavor (usually mixed with lemon) but don’t enjoy juniper. The pomelo and lemongrass from McQueen is a worthy match with the kombucha. I wouldn’t try this with other kombucha flavors, mostly because ginger is the only one I like, but just about anything sour or tart would go well with this gin.
As a non-gin drinker, it’s unlikely that I’d buy a bottle of this — I’d probably get something less expensive considering I’d want to mask the flavor in a negroni anyway. But for anyone who enjoys a martini, this is probably a good choice.