Review: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

Negroni in the making at Little Quarter
A while ago, I was invited to Little Quarter here in Stockholm for a presentation of Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin with its creator Alexander Stein. I had quite a lengthy talk with him about his rather different gin, and it was very noticeable that he's extremely passionate about it and that quality is very important to him. Afterwards, I sampled some of the evening's cocktails which were chosen to showcase Monkey 47. For me, the Negroni (which actually was off menu) was the best cocktail of the evening, as the Campari and Carpano Classico really embraced and elevated the complex character of the gin. That made me interested in doing some experiments of my own, but first some tasting notes:

Corpse Reviver No. 2

Neat
Nose: As the name reveals, 47 different ingredients have been put into this gin, making it very different from a traditional London Dry. The aroma is intense, with juniper on top together with complex herbal notes and a pleasant fruitiness from wild forest berries. Mouth: The juniper is actually a bit hidden behind the strong herbal presence of rosemary and lavender which is backed by a rather sweet and fruity mix of red and blue berries and a long and peppery finish. Not subtle in any sense, this gin means business!

Cocktails
I wanted to try Monkey 47 in some classic cocktails but also come up with a few new ones, and the obvious first choices were Gin & Tonic (60 ml Monkey 47, 120 ml Fever Tree Tonic - build in Old Fashioned glass, garnish with lemon wedge) and Dry Martini (50 ml Monkey 47, 10 ml Noilly Prat - stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lemon zest) and both are really nice introductions of Monkey 47 in cocktails as they both bring out the gin's special qualities without interfering too much. I continued with Corpse Reviver No. 2 (30 ml Monkey 47, 30 ml Cointreau, 30 ml Lillet Blanc, 30 ml lemon juice - shake with ice, strain into absinthe rinsed cocktail glass, garnish with lemon zest) which was absolutely beautiful. The herbal and fruity notes together with citrus and the somewhat funky vermouth worked very well together.

Negronis

Next up, it was time for another Negroni, now with a different vermouth than at Little Quarter (40 ml Monkey 47, 40 ml Campari, 40 ml Martini Rosso - stir with ice, strain into Old Fashioned glass with ice, garnish with orange zest) and it was equally good in bringing out the best of the flavours in the gin - highly recommended!

Red Snapper

The next day, it was the perfect opportunity to make a Red Snapper (60 ml Monkey 47, 90 ml tomato juice, 15 ml lemon juice, dashes worcestershire sauce, dashes Crystal hot sauce, pinch ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon horseradish purée, pinch chili flakes, pinch celery salt - build in Highball glass with ice, stir and garnish with celery stick, lemon wedge and feferoni) but actually the prominent fruitiness of the gin didn't work well at all with the tomato juice - avoid.

Aviation
On to the experiments - I have also been working on a review of Oddka Electricity, and found it to have hints of violet and blue forest berries which made me think it would be great in an Aviation (60 ml Monkey 47, 15 ml lemon juice, 15 ml Luxardo Maraschino, 7,5 ml Oddka Electricity - shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass and garnish with maraschino cherry) and it actually works very well, with the combined fruitiness of the vodka, gin and liqueur making a surprisingly refreshing and well balanced spin on the original cocktail.

Spank the Monkey
Last but not least I did an Old Fashioned variation which I named Spank the Monkey (60 ml Monkey 47, 5 ml spruce shoot syrup, 1 full dropper Urban Moonshine maple bitters - stir with ice, strain into Old Fashioned glass with ice and garnish with orange zest) and both the syrup and bitters helped to enhance the wild forest notes of the gin into something rather fresh and satisfying.

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin is truly original and delicious, both on its own and in many cocktails, but its intensity might be too much in some occasions so it's very important to find the right flavour combinations. Highly recommended!

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