Christoph wanted to put a ring around the cork. We did not merely intend to produce one more dry gin just like any other, not in the least. Let's imagine we're back in the late 1950s in the Black Forest. Where the Hendrick’s bottle is what a designer imagines an apothecary’s bottle to be like, the Monkey 47 bottle actually is what they were like; smooth, round-shouldered, thin neck and a broad lip; it is like something from a moth-balled chemistry lab. It is possible to find any number of publicly accessible, detailed recipes for absinthe dating from the 19th century, which in turn make it possible for us today to distill a 100-percent historically accurate absinthe. Just the kind of gin that we would both like to drink! Why? I wasn’t looking to branch out into the glass industry; how was I going to afford that? As I’ve already mentioned, we use no fewer than 47 hand-picked herbal ingredients to make Monkey 47. We didn't know why that was, but we quickly determined that fresh peels would be the only option for us. Sometimes I pictured myself sitting down at my bank in Stuttgart. Experiments with fresh lemons and grapefruits followed, and we were thrilled with the results - at first, at least. At the end of all of those deliberations, the outcome was, of course, inevitable: my moment of victory -- the revenge of the common man, who had been put through such a complicated and complex development process! One must rather analyze the properties of the various substances as they interact with each other when combined in a distillate. Well, for one thing, back then gin, as an industrially produced spirit, was an utter no-man's-land for a distiller, and an artisanally distilled gin made with natural botanical ingredients was nowhere on anyone's radar screen. But what about Schwarzwald Dry Gin? Like absinthe and aquavit, gin is a very complex distillate, and many factors play a role in its development: a variety of ingredients and natural substances (the so-called “botanicals”), the quality of those ingredients, the distillation process, which may use any of a number of very different technologies (see our description below) and the sensory profile, which, as with perfume, consists of head notes, heart notes, and base notes. At that time I worked as a general manager for Nokia, the Finnish telecommunications concern, and I lived with my wife and young children in Detroit. This is why smells tend to evoke feelings and have a conditioning effect on our sense of taste. It was a long road, or more accurately, a trampled-down path in an impenetrable jungle, but it was by scouting this path “step by step” that we became acquainted with a tremendous variety of aromatic substances, accumulating a knowledge base which we would draw upon in good measure over the course of the Monkey's further development. At times, I have tried to get Alexander to tell me whether he had ever regretted the decision he had made in his youth. nice idea re cork but shame it broke, I used to drink that when I was in Erasmus in Berlin. Fortunately, producers of Dry Gin have to follow more rigorous production guidelines and employ methods that yield higher-quality products. I remember the Sunday morning that my sister came to visit us, and arrived to see, standing on our dining-room table, about 80 one-liter bottles containing Christoph's “experiments,” next to a few glasses that had been left there in the aftermath of my tasting sessions the evening before. And maybe he was actually right – maybe I really should make a gin that could be drunk “neat” – without even an ice cube to dilute it. Mixed with tonic water, it was superb! For that reason, we shouldn't be mistaken for typical “spirits producers” or “liquor entrepreneurs”; we are schnapps distillers to the core. Since my family knows one of the partners in the distillery, I had the privilege to be sipping Monkey 47 for over two years now and am bringing it to the US bottle by bottle, having resolved to never run out nof it again. After a series of morning tasting orgies, Alexander showed up nearly every time at the distillery armed with a sensory “ranking list.” We subjected our distillates to further tests, and analyzed the results, and argued, often continuing on late into the night. I have just purchased my first bottle of Monkey 47 and can’t wait to try it with my European tonic water. Gin was and is, consequently, a distillate with a tremendously dynamic evolutionary process, and it has developed over the course of the centuries from a unidimensional, low-quality liquor to a multifaceted classic whose quality varies, depending on the methods and ingredients used in its production. The underbrush becomes even more impassable when you consider the number of ingredients that are added to contemporary gins. This was all reported in articles in the larger national newspapers, and also in Stuttgart, the capital of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Unlike our other senses, it bypasses the thalamus (in the brain) and sends information directly to the amygdalae and frontal lobe. The use of the term “London Dry Gin” does not, as is generally believed, denote any connection to the city of London, but rather describes a set of regulations regarding quality standards in the production of a Dry Gin. I like G&T with lime while my wife prefers lemon. Here, it’s important to know that besides a knack for clever fixes, a sense of obligation to involve oneself in matters that have nothing to do with oneself – you might also call it sheer curiosity – is a trait typical of people from the Monkey’s home region. This Gin is the best I have ever tried it has depth in flavour tried it in a bar in Exeter Devon England I had three large ones with tonic ice and lemon glorious. Anyone who knows Alexander -- and has come to appreciate his subtle, ironic humor, his resolve, his facility for wordplay, and his flights of creativity – can well imagine that the organizational structure of an international, impersonal megabusiness (which, to be sure, did provide valuable experience) was not the right environment for a Swabian free spirit like him. That is to say, I overcame my reluctance to plunge ahead with this artisanal gin project, and invited Christoph to visit us at home, so that we could get to know each other better. I recently bought a bottle and I agree with everything you say; it is well worth seeking out! Letting a spirit mature is an expensive, but indispensable commitment to quality. The very name of it sounded awfully professional to me. The key to this eccentric blend, however, is another local staple that seems both surprising and yet made to enhance the right gin. And although the lingonberry possesses everything, in terms of its aromatic properties, that we would hope to find in a good gin – strong bitter notes, accentuated acidity, subtle fruit – it is not the lingonberry's potential effect on the taste of our gin that is of paramount importance when it comes to our technique of pre-maceration, even if we hear time and again from a few very smart people who “know their way around the world of gin” that they can detect the “very noticeable” taste of lingonberries in our gin. It gives me something to orite about too. I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Monkey 47 gin. Price is high, but definitely a unique experience. This breakthrough would, of course, also go on to have a long-term effect on the production of gin. The only sad thing about it is that you can’t get it in the US, whereI live! Simple, but you have to admit, brilliant! First question: Who’s awake at four in the morning and has access to a mill? Plus, the Fiery One is even kind enough to provide the necessary fertiliser through its natural dispersal of volcanic ash, which is guaranteed to be free of any additives. What I actually wanted to do was to make gin, not set up a hippie commune with some kind of schnapps guru, and romp with him among the tree trunks down by Lake Constance, performing ritual dances. With the proverbial carrot and a stick, and many words of explanation, we somehow got through this first semi-public tasting – which took four hours, mind you – and the worst thing about it was that I actually felt good doing it. I am a gin connoisseur and have been for 18 years. Apparently, my stomach is as strong as ever: The very next morning, I heard myself saying, “Brilliant, let’s do it!” Had something happened overnight? Technically, Schwarzwald Dry Gin falls into the Dry Gin category. Many place a close second but this gin is complex and spectacular. If something tastes good, it should look good, too. While I did have an extensive knowledge of the aromas and fragrances that have a role to play in the world of brandies and schnapps, of herbal distillates, of perfumes and the eaux de vie that are drunk when smoking cigars, I had – as a matter of character – no familiarity with the perspective of a bar habitué, or of a connoisseur of mixed drinks and cocktails. Required fields are marked *, You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
. In other words, one gin may well be quite different from the next. Fruity, smooth, a real delight. ), and I can imagine that Christoph had lots of fun while he was barricading himself in the distillery for weeks or months on end with his macerations, and carrying out his test distillations (we could speak here of “distiller's orgasms”). Gin is, however, much more than juniper alone, and it is arguably the most dynamic distilled spirit in the world. There is no need for tonic or soda. Your email address will not be published. By assembling a multitude of possible combinations, I hoped to be able to get the broadest possible impression of the flavor preferences of our tasters – who in turn were chosen by Alexander. This may affect nutrition and allergen information therefore you should always check product labels and not rely solely on the information presented here. So, let's forget about the legal definition and focus on what really matters: Dry Gin, or London Dry Gin is the most strictly regulated designation in the gin family, and thus it generally refers to products of a higher quality and aroma density. Thanks for this excellent, in depth, review. What we were aiming for was something I called “Schwarzwald Dry Gin.” This was not envisioned as an official classification, but rather as a symbolic target that would enable us to surpass the existing quality specifications for the dry gin category, which we do, by the way. The two gentlemen in their fashionable clothes and Italian leather shoes must have thought, as they took in the sheep, the goats, the chickens and the rustic distillery, that they had found their way to the proverbial end of the earth. To my great surprise, Herr Maser was amenable to my plight. Anyway, I’d invited over the crème de la crème of Germany’s cocktail creators, mixologists, bartenders, and hospitality experts for some “sensible” collaboration. After Christoph had gone, I sat there at the table, which was still covered with bottles and glasses. Alexander had indeed been right when he brought in a neutral spirit (ethanol) made from molasses for us to sample in our private tastings. Still, we needed a solution, and fast. Since time immemorial, juniper berries have therefore been used to give aroma to the famous Black Forest ham. The distillation process we use is a complex one. I was right! It can be difficult to find in a bricks-and-mortar store but it can be found at a lot of online retailers. It actually has to do with the internal relationship between taste and smell, the latter of which plays a special anatomic role due to it being the oldest of our senses in evolutionary terms. This man was a typical Black Forest schnapps distiller, and would not have made distillates from anything else besides cherries, Damask plums, mirabelle plums, apples, pears, or perhaps in a stretch, raspberries. Having at this point by necessity adopted the familiar “Du” form when addressing each other, we maintained an undertone of friendly competition during our nocturnal sessions, in the course of which we had narrowed our list of possible gin compositions down to five favorite recipes. These factors also led to a change in the typical flavor profile, yielding a more complex and aromatic distillate. By now, I have distilled about 450 different basic commodities – everything I could get my hands on! We were given a bottle by my sister in Paris at the weekend and really looking forward to our first G&T. As such, I’d prefer to spare you the details of all that miserable milling, which came to an abrupt halt deep in the Black Forest at around four in the morning. Of course, she didn't know anything about my gin schemes, and I could only answer, “No, I actually have a big alcohol problem!”. It was news to me, and I could hardly believe it: neutral spirits are, quite simply, not neutral, and the joyful expression on my partner's face confirmed it. A Monkey 47 Gin egy minden tekintetben komplex és robosztus gin. In Austria, such distillates are called “Maiwipfelgeist,” since the spruce shoots emerge in the month of May. But one thing after another ... to begin with, a number of problems came up, some of which were to be expected, and others that were totally unforeseeable. Initially, I had thought that this was purely a sipping gin which would be a crime to mix, but trying it with tonic water was a revelation. Originally recommended to me by terrific waiter at “the Dispensary” in Bendigo, took me 2 years to find it. Of course, I would employ the right tactics, cleverly embedding my tale within a thick layer of flattery regarding his superb brandy. Our approach to distillation is a complex one: It involves both distilling the macerate and using steam extraction to channel the alcoholic vapours through fresh botanicals using a Carter-Head still. Ah yes, “complex” – too complex, in fact, for a final comprehensive summary of this subject. Armed with a standard kitchen mill, I got to work on grinding up around 100 kilos of herbal ingredients. My wife, Christiane, reconfigured our herb garden, and in our greenhouse, she grew a number of plants from cuttings, including several types of Monardas, whose blossoms we wanted to use. At that point, it look less than an hour for the Hummels to work its magic. I frequently travel to Germany and bring back Schweppes tonic water from there to the United States because US tonic water is all sugar, even the Schweppes brand. It was the most amazing gin to date complicated but delicious. and just cannot be compared to simple, mass-produced spirits such as, for example, whiskeys, vodka, rum, or tequila. Nonetheless, the creation of a well-harmonized recipe presents a particular challenge for a distiller. I highly doubt those assertions, and really, we don't use lingonberries to impart their flavor to our gin, but rather in order to bring about the textural changes in its ethanol base, as described above. Everything is going to be made by hand, from real ingredients, and the gin is going to be distilled like a macerated-fruit brandy.” Thus, I had the choice between putting my gin-making future in the hands of this character in his overalls and full beard – or to get out of there as fast as possible, which at that moment seemed like the right thing to do!