I have always wondered, among all the different kinds of spirits available, how gin came to be a liquor unto itself. Think about it; how exactly does a neutral spirit flavored with berries that taste similar to pine needles become its own staple spirit? It seems mystifying… and I don’t say this as a criticism, since I happen to be a fan of the finer gins myself (in fact, if I go into a bar and order a martini, I expect it to be made with gin unless I specifically order vodka. Such circumstances have led to my utter disappointment a few times in the past).
However, although most often compared to vodka, there is a fairly recent development in the world of next-to-neutral spirits that I can’t help but compare to gin: VeeV. This isn’t a name for a new kind of liquor so much as it is a vodka-like neutral spirit flavored with Brazillian Acai berries (this is pronounced ah-sah-ee, almost like the Japanese beer Asahi, renowned for its dry flavor). VeeV opts to use these rather than juniper berries like typical gin, and much like nicer vodkas, organic winter wheat grain is the other base for this spirit.
Acai is an antioxidant-rich, “super berry” resembling a blueberry, discovered by brothers Carter and Courtney Reum fairly recently on a surfing trip to Brazil in late 2003. The brothers only lasted a few more years before they dropped their Wall Street jobs to launch VeeV, and they are now credited with creating the world’s very first açai spirit, which hit the market in 2007.
Although VeeV isn’t organic like some vodkas now available, environmentalists can still feel groovy drinking it thanks to the commitment the company makes to maintaining the biodiversity of its harvest areas, which entails donating $1 for every bottle sold to Sambazon’s Sustainable Açai Project. Also, in spite of the low wages paid to crop workers in the region, VeeV pays its workers roughly 50% more than the standard going rate of Amazonian basin workers. The company also boasts that they are “the first carbon-neutral spirits company,” with two-thirds of its employees already driving hybrid vehicles. In addition to this, labels used on the bottle, as well as company business cards, press releases and stationary are recyclable. Finally, the company’s distillery (located in Idaho of all places) is powered by windmills. If that doesn’t find an environmental blade to spin, nothing will!
To purchase a bottle of the unique VeeV açai spirit, visit melandrose.com. Also try making this fancy beverage, as listed at the company website:
Eco Basilico ( Tree-Tini) Cocktail
* 2 oz Veev Acai Spirit
* 4 Fresh Basil Leaves
* 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
* 5 oz Simple Syrup
* 4 Cucumber Slices