New elixir finds way under sun

LOS ANGELES --- When a mysterious biblical philosopher wrote what would become Ecclesiastes 1:9, he might as well have been staring into the liquor cabinet: "What has been done will be done again," his thoughts roughly went. "There is nothing new under the sun."


Vodkas are flavored, tequilas super-aged, wines "made" by sports stars and celebrities -- but it's still just vodka, tequila and wine after all.

So it was easy to get worked up about the prospects of Veev, the self-styled first and only distilled spirit made with an exotic berry from the Amazon, complete with hyperbolic claims of environmental friendliness and antioxidant benefits.

It comes in a handsome, frosted bottle. The folks who make it offer a handful of intriguing cocktail recipes; and by golly, it tastes like nothing else.

Veev, supposedly made from the purple berry of the acai palm tree, has the clean-mouth feel of vodka, the slight citrus tang of fine tequila and a blueberryish overtone.

The 80-proof liquor defies categorization. A clear elixir, it smells a little like very ripe grapefruit, is smoother than most tequilas and mixes beautifully with anything rum does, from odd fresh fruit juices -- including watermelon, mango and pomegranate, or any combination thereof -- to guarana soda, a favorite in Brazil.

It also dances deftly on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon, something that can't be said for some of the best white spirits that have been on the market for generations.