Do you want a really unique gin to drink this Christmas?

Peter Morrell discovers McQueen and the Violet Fog

In the hills of Jundiaí about 35 miles north of São Paulo in Brazil some magical in the gin world is happening. A single copper pot still is creating a gin with twenty-one different botanicals, including six seldom found: basil leaves from India, Portuguese rosemary, Mediterranean fennel seed, calamansi from the South Pacific, star anise native to Vietnam, and acai locally grown in Brazil.

The gin is made by maceration and vapour infusion, and each small batch is a labour of love. The motto of the gin masters is ‘Pauca Sed Bona’ which literally translates as ‘Few but Good’ For the makers, it’s quality over quantity and each batch is distilled and bottled by hand.

The gin is beautifully packaged in a heavy, clear bottle with copper coloured embossed labelling featuring the all-seeing crowned eye.

Aromas, tastes and flavours all crowd in to this remarkably complex gin. The nose is a heady mix of apples, resinous juniper, citrus and spices. These all persist on the palate and are joined by cinnamon and cedar notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and buttery and the gin has very warming quality. The finish is bright and clean with tones of candied peel

Here are some serves I have tried with McQueen and the Violet Fog

First was a Gin and Tonic. Ice cubes, 50ml of McQueen’s gin, a good quality tonic to taste and a wedge of lime. Delicious, with the juniper and spices powerfully asserting themselves over the flavour of the tonic, the ideal summer refresher.

My next cocktail was a Negroni, one part each of McQueen’s gin, Campari and Cinzano Rosso poured over ice in an old-fashioned glass, then stirred and garnished with a twist of orange peel. A real winner, with the dryness of the gin contrasting well with the bitterness of the Campari.

The last tasting just had to be the most famous of all gin-based cocktails, the Martini. A shaker full of ice, one part Noilly Prat, two parts McQueen’s gin, then ‘shaken not stirred’ and poured into a chilled martini glass and garnished with an olive. This was bone dry with the citrus flavours and botanicals of the gin working well with the herbs in the vermouth.

In case you are wondering, the gin’s unique name is inspired by a mysterious poem of the same name, which details an encounter with a mysterious rock band. Segments of the poem are on the back of the bottle.

McQueen and the Violet Fog is a unique gin with an intriguing collection of botanicals and is available in the UK from Masters of Malt, The Whisky Exchange and other good spirit merchants.