The McQueens, hail from Scotland, and their line of gins— including McQueen Mocha Gin — sought to shake things up and stand out on the shelf.
Flavored gins have always been around; however, with more and more distilleries putting out series of gins like the McQueens did, this flavored gin thing is a full blown trend in the gin world right now. We’ve previously covered others who are part of this movement. Lee Spirits Co. in Colorado has a line of gins including two eccentric flavored gins. And don’t forget nginious!’s line of flavored gins. Really, rather than hiding the flavor behind a brand name, more distillers who are opting for less traditional flavor profiles are calling their gins “flavored” right on the bottle.
Unlike the infused gins from Lee Spirits Co, McQueen Mocha gin is not the result of post distillation infusion, but instead the result of a carefully crafted distillation process designed to taste like what the bottle says.
For a gin that says “Mocha” on the label, the nose is a surprisingly laid back profile of dark chocolate and orange chocolate— kind of like those giant orange shaped chocolates you smash on the table— right those are still a thing? There’s dark roasted espresso bean and pine-accented juniper as well. The nose is really a standout for me. Unique, but not overwhelming nor too literal. Coffee yes, but so much more.
The palate has a surprisingly large amount of traditional gin like notes with juniper, white grapefruit pith, and bitter orange merging with the gentle bitterness of dark roasted coffee beans. There’s a hint of vanilla and cream in here as well.
The citrus and gradually darkening juniper seems to dominate the finish. Hints of bitter chocolate at the edges on the back of the palate. Though the flavors are somewhat on the medium-to-short length of the finish; there’s a real pleasant residual warmth here that persists. One might even say, it warms the body like a Mocha on a cool day. Really.
It’s odd that I think “hey this might be the perfect gin for one of those chocolate bar/mainstream ‘everything’s a Martini’ style restaurants,” but I do. If you ever saw a Chocolate Gin Martini or Espresso Martini with gin, I would say this would be the right gin. Chuck out the chocolate and coffee flavored vodkas, there’s a new game in town!
As for traditional drinks, I am not a big fan of chocolate and coffee in my Gin and Tonic, so while I don’t think it was to my taste, I could really see how McQueen Mocha Gin would work for someone with the right palate. But Garnish with orange instead of lime. It worked in a Negroni as well, with only a slight hint of chocolate and citrus coming through amidst the Campari. But really, I think this makes one heck of a Gin Alexander. In fact, there might not be a better gin out there for making dessert inspired gin cocktails than this one.
I was prepared to be skeptical and the name seemed gimmicky to me. But I can admit that I was wrong judging this book by the cover. While McQueen Mocha Gin certainly does highlight chocolate and coffee notes, it does have a good deal of gin character, and gosh, it actually sort of works.
McQueen Mocha Gin is not as flexible in cocktails and I think there’s more that it really doesn’t work in than it does. But for those looking for an after gin, or for bartenders looking to playfully expand the role of gin in their bar (mint? cream? literal coffee or espresso cocktails) they’ll find a gin that occupies a space that no other gin really does right now. It’s a unique gin that may be able to carve out a niche all of it’s own if the right people find a way to highlight some of McQueen Mocha Gin’s unique selling points
*Thanks again to David T. Smith for the sample. Cheers!