Woo Hoo! I love that voodoo that you do to give me the drinks I crave! I’ll bet that there’s a great deal more than just voodoo involved in brewing and distilling alcohol. I bet there is religion, superstition, science, art, knowledge, subterfuge, centrifuges, physics, metaphysics and a sprinkling of plain old dumb luck. It also seems like it’s getting more complicated all the time, but the results are sure worth the trouble.

As I am sure you know, if it weren’t for alcohol, there would be no civilization to speak of on this planet, and there would only be 1,247 people in the entire world. When man finally emerged from the muck and mire and became aware, he realized there were women but couldn’t figure out why or what for. He then discovered fruits and grains and that filled an empty place in his stomach. Three days later, he figured out how to turn those fruits and grains into alcohol. The alcohol helped him figure out what women were for and that filled an empty place in his nether regions. Man and woman settled together near brewers and distillers because they still hadn’t invented the wheel nor refrigeration and so towns came into existence and civilization as we know it began all thanks to alcohol.

In the olden days, the brews they brewed were, to put it mildly, horrible; but they got the job done. As time went on and man discovered alchemy and science, he of course applied this new knowledge to brewing and tastes improved. There was still a lot of metaphysical magic involved, after all, why do you think they called it spirits? Did you know that the practice of clinking glasses together before taking a drink was done to create a noise in the ether to scare away evil spirits?

Well, today a distiller of fine spirits needs to be a master chemist, a rocket scientist an ethnobiologist and if you happen to be a fat balding monk on top of that so much the better. Robert Del Grande, the creator of Roxor Gin isn’t some of those things but he is a James Beard awarded Chef who happens to hold a PhD in Biochemistry, so that’s close enough in my book.

A Texas gin, go figure! It is the first and only gin distilled in Texas and so far only available in Texas. It comes in a bottle that mimics the architectural styling of a skyscraper and is three dimensional and textured and heavy which makes it insanely interesting. The word Roxor, according to the urban dictionary, describes something found to be so awesome that it should make you want to instantly scream and make devil horns with both hands. OK, insane bottle, insane name, this hootch is right up my alley. Now, I really want to try it.

Before I get into that, let me explain that I normally don’t like to drink alone and I certainly don’t take a bottle and lock myself in my closet and close my eyes to concentrate on the flavors I am experiencing. I prefer to taste new products with a friend or two to get several opinions and reactions. However, I received this full sized 750ml bottle it was less than half full. Now, I am certainly aware of the “angel’s share,” which occurs when a spirit is encased in an oak barrel and some of the contents evaporates through the wood over time but that usually only amounts to a very, very small amount. If the angels got their share of this bottle, then those are some seriously drunken sots. If the angels aren’t responsible, And Chef Del Grande isn’t a cheapskate then the PR person who sent me this bottle is a raging alcoholic and Chef Del Grande might want to send him to a few AA meetings. Since there was so little product to try, we could only taste it straight up and with tonic water and were denied the pleasure of attempting a martini or two or three.

Unlike European gins that are juniper heavy and pretty much in your face with flavors, Roxor is amazingly complex yet not heavy handed. Pretty much taking a page out of Colonel Sander’s cookbook, Chef Del Grande also uses a secret recipe of twelve herbs and spices and you can just about taste them all. There’s of course the requisite juniper but then he adds fresh citrus peels, coriander, orris root, (what in the hell is orris root?) Texas pecans, red grapefruit zest, limes, hibiscus, cocoa nibs, sarsaparilla and cinnamon and God only knows what else.

You’d think that with all that going on things would get a bit muddled but that is absolutely not the case. The nose is bright, crisp, clean, clear and distinct with juniper up front followed immediately by grapefruit and citrus. It is tart in the nose and very welcoming, yet not overpowering. Straight up, at 90 proof, it’s a bit zippy on the tongue yet very smooth going down. It really shines on the rocks or with tonic water and unfolds its myriad flavors like a flower blooming on a sunny summer day. The nose opens up, and it seems that every time I wafted the glass in front of me I perceived yet another scent: juniper then grapefruit then citrus then flowers, yum.

Roxor mellows out on the rocks and tonic water seemed the perfect pairing. Again, the tastes were crisp and clean and the flavors distinct and not overpowering. The ingredients were blended perfectly and balanced very well and with every sip I could distinctly distinguish individual ingredients primarily picking out the juniper and grapefruit and hibiscus with a hint of the walnut in the finish. The only bad part of this whole experience was not having enough Roxor gin to try in a few martinis as well!!

 At $35.00 per bottle, this is definitely in the super premium category but Roxor actually deserves to be in this category and is worth the price. If you happen to live in Texas, get a bottle. If you don’t live in Texas, next time you’re passing through pull up to a local watering hole and get you some; you won’t be disappointed.

By George Brozowski

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