Last week a group of us were transported to the Rainforest, not in Brazil, but rather here in the heart of London, to sample Brazil’s first Craft Gin.
The evening was to celebrate the partnership between Amázzoni and NGO Vem do Xingu, and a chance for guests to experience the Amazon Rainforest in the capital along with some delicious food from a Brazilian chef, three innovative Amázzoni cocktails and a full sensory immersive rainforest experience. A nice touch to the evening was that a contribution on behalf of each guest is to be made to a network of local associations from Middle Land, Xingu in the Amazon Rainforest.
Established just seven years ago in Rio de Janeiro by three friends, Arturo Isola and Alexandre Mazza, a Brazilian artist, along with master mixologist Tato Giovannoni, who created the gin recipe, they set about converting a 17th Century coffee farm into what was the first gin distillery in Brazil.
Subsequently, Amázzoni Gin has gone on to win global awards including World’s Best Craft Producer of the Year in 2018, Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirit Competition in 2019, and Distiller of the Year in 2021 by the World Gin Awards in London. As a result, Amázzoni is now the most widely sold gin in Brazil. This success encouraged the three friends to market their gin abroad, where today they sell Amázzoni in over 15 countries.
The bottle themselves, are a piece of art, designed by the founders, inspired by Renaissance medicinal bottles. They are craft-produced as part of a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and Amázzoni recycles all of the residual materials from the production cycle, while using certified reforested wood to feed the boiler.
The name Amázzoni comes from the river goddess, the Amazon, and was conceived by Arturo Isola and Alexandre Mazza. The recipe that Tato Giovannoni has put together is true to the soul of the rainforest, being rich with citrus and spicy, fragrant aromatics such as lemongrass and maxixe, the Brazilian Gherkin. In fact, Amázzoni is made with five natural botanicals to represent the five Brazilian Biomes, which have never used before in any gin – trees, water, oxygen, wildlife and life – the spirit and essence of Brazil.
Amázzoni has arranged with their UK distributor, the NOMAD Collection, to donate £2 for every bottle of Amázzoni sold in the UK to NGO Vem do Xingu, between now and the grand finale of Amázzoni’s international Cocktail competition in January next year. Vem do Xingu is a network of associations in the Amazonian Forest that strive to conserve the Amazon’s precious and increasingly fragile biome. It is also the forest that provides some of the Amázzoni Gin’s unique botanicals.
As founder Arturo Isola says:
“The best way to preserve the forest is to protect those who live in it and who derive life and sustenance from that land. Planting trees is important but unfortunately it is no longer an effective solution given the gap between the time it takes the new tree to grow and the speed with which deforestation is advancing. Those who live there must be defended, and so must their perfect harmony with its natural environment. This is why Vem do Xingu NGO was our choice.”
The Amazon contains the single largest tropical rainforest on the planet and covers around 40 per cent of the South American continent with 60 per cent of it in Brazil. The Amazon’s forests and waters make it the world’s most important terrestrial biome, and this is why Amázzoni dedicates its work to the preservation of the Amazon.
Creating products in a sustainable way from the network of local associations is what Vem do Xingu does to protect the forest and communities in the middle land, Xinga. This non-governmental organisation protects 9 million hectares of forests under pressure and helps the people who live and work there.
The three gins we tried last week were used to create a good old Gin & Tonic, a classic Martini and my favourite, a Negroni, and included the first award-winning craft gin in Brazil, Amázzoni Gin 42% ABV, RRP £35.00, which is a London dry gin distilled from pure cereal alcohol and natural spring water, sourced into the estate of the distillery. It has five exclusive botanicals that come from Brazil and the Amazonian rainforest as well as five more classic gin botanicals.
The second gin was the stronger Rio Negro 51% ABV, RRP £38.00, which is a Super Premium London Dry Rio Negro. It is distilled from pure cereal alcohol and natural spring water and includes eight botanicals from Brazil and the Amazonian Rainforest, and features five times juniper, an overproof ABV and two complex different distillation techniques.
The third and final gin was Maniuara 38% ABV, RRP £30.00, which is the latest addition and is the Old Tom style blend of Amázzoni. It is also distilled from pure cereal alcohol and natural spring water but is far more delicate and fresher than the previous recipes and includes a new lemongrass botanical in which the liquid is infused to give the final golden tone.
A final word from Arturo Isola, who concludes:
“Amázzoni Gin was born from an authentic passion for the spirit, and a love for the country of Brazil. We wanted to create a new expression that reflected the ethos of the Amazon Rainforest, a super-premium blend with the purpose to awaken the senses and connect you back to nature.”
Amázzoni Gin is available to buy at the following stockists: Hedonism Wines, The Whisky Exchange, Drink with Sasha, Spirits Kiosk, Hedonism Wines, Master of Malt, Drinks&Co, Craft Gin Club, Threshers and Soho Wine Supply.
For more information on Amázzoni Gin, please visit: www.amazzonigin.com.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs by Rusne Draz Photos