McQueen Mocha Gin - 50cl - 42% ABV
McQueen Gin burst onto the scene on 3rd June 2016 with something of an anarchic air. There’s so much gin, they said, let’s make something bonkers, something different… Their range of four flavoured spirits was created on the premise that gin, especially when mixed with tonic, tastes like… gin. In their opinion, the market place for ginsmiths is so crowded that it can be hard to stand out, so rather than create a regular dry gin, they made Chocolate Mint Gin, Sweet Citrus Gin, Mocha Gin and Smokey Chilli Gin.
Dale and Vicky McQueen founded their Trossach’s Distillery in Callander, Scotland in July 2015, leaving a life of corporate software sales behind for something that required a little more derring-do. Though completely new to the alcohol industry, they had such a huge interest and fascination in distilling that it was almost an obvious choice for them. Gin, too, was obvious, especially for those who are trained to think in terms of sales – as Dale told us, it’s not hard to see that it’s a strong market right now.
Juniper, grapefruit, vanilla, cocoa nibs and coffee are the listed botanicals for this gin, which has an overall quite stern feel about it. The coffee is evident to nose and offset against the dusty, bitter nature of cocoa nibs, accentuates an almost smoky quality. Juniper comes through on the nose here, too, bringing a secret, medicinal depth that is only uncovered via a deep inhale.
Coffee dominates the sip initially, with a vague hint of over-roasted beans. Juniper follows (if a little timidly), with the vanilla and cocoa nibs bringing up the rear, followed once again by the coffee as it circles back round. The vanilla adds a real sweetness too, helping add a welcome dimension to the spirit and this particular gin is easily the smoothest spirit of their portfolio – eminently sippable, even at room temperature.
This is perfect Espresso Martini fodder; the drink has so far belonged strictly in the realm of vodka, but the coffee infusion here is too strong to resist making a gin interpretation. In terms of a G&T, Dale recommends coffee beans as a garnish, but we’d go for something that would bring it back into more traditional territory, like an orange wheel.