monkey 47 ring

The exotic finds we brought back with us - including eastern Asian ingredients like cubeb pepper, cassia bark, coriander, grains of paradise, musk seed, allspice, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and liquorice - are what give our gin its unique and elegantly spiced finish. In theory, this process will generally lead to a more balanced and flavorful product, compared with a gin that is made by simply adding flavorings to a neutral spirit. They served my Monkey 47 with Fever tree tonic a slice of chilli and cinnamon powder. Nowadays, in an era of political correctness, it seems improper to talk of such things anymore, but back then, this was absolutely a job commonly performed by children, since the so-called “manholes,” that is, the openings in the stills, were too small for grown men to fit through. I suppose simplicity just isn’t our speciality. Monkey 47 also just sounds better than Monkey 48, if you ask me, but that’s neither here nor there. And so it is shocking to discover that many experts on gin who have no experience producing this spirit continue to propagate the widespread myth that rectified ethanol, that is, so-called neutral spirits or neutral alcohol, actually has no flavor. (He could probably do a better job of explaining this – but sometimes it's better not to let him talk for too long! Ah yes, “complex” – too complex, in fact, for a final comprehensive summary of this subject. En kraftig og intens gin med en kæmpe smagspalette. Experiments with fresh lemons and grapefruits followed, and we were thrilled with the results - at first, at least. Alexander showed up then, and stood in the doorway shaking his head, visibly exasperated at the “Swabian thoroughness” with which I was approaching this whole endeavor. It was time for that famed Black Forest ingenuity to work its magic again. When I pictured the kind of person who could initiate me into the mysteries of gin-making, I imagined a respectable distiller, a distinguished man in a white lab coat, not some self-taught new-age artisan who looked like the hairy bandit hero of a beloved German children's book, The Robber Hotzenplotz. Neat or with a good tonic it is unlike any other. That’s why we turn to more suitable countries like Italy and Croatia (depending on where the latest harvest has been the best) for the ripest juniper berries, which lend our gin a sun-kissed aroma that puts local varieties in the shade. As an aroma junkie, you have to find your own way through this jungle and its very particular technology – but we'll tell you more about that later. In other words, the only way to achieve a really complex, well-harmonized, multifaceted gin is by combining the botanicals in the stages of maceration, digestion, distillation or percolation. Schwarzwald Dry Gin is obtained exclusively from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin that is made from molasses, with a maximum methanol content of only 0.5 grams per hectoliter of 100 percent alcohol by volume, whose flavor is introduced solely through the process of redistillation in traditional stills. His grandfather owned a schnapps distillery in the town of Grossheppach that grew into a sizable enterprise under the management of Alexander's father. But it took quite some time before we got to the first tastings of actual test distillates, and so perhaps I should begin at the beginning. During a classic Swabian coffee hour with thick, buttered pretzels, we got to know each other better, and I was told the story of Montgomery Collins and his Black Forest gin – and then it was suggested that we join forces to bring this gin back to life. I have just purchased my first bottle of Monkey 47 and can’t wait to try it with my European tonic water. All you'll need is four gin monkey 47 corks. I was sure that if anything out there could handle my situation, it was a Hummels 2000...whatever that was. It turned out that the Monkey was in a fairly polarising mood. We have followed age-old traditions in the learning of our craft, and we immerse ourselves every day in the finer points of the honorable art of distillation – not just as an intellectual pursuit, but rather in a very concrete and practical manner, “hands-on,” in the distillery. A deluge of debt was already nipping at my heels, and here my illustrious colleague from the south was intent on making it rain. Now, if someone were to say to YOU, “Give this guy a call!” and were to thrust a newspaper article into YOUR hand that featured a photograph of a grim-looking character whose face was wholly obscured by thickets of beard and mustache, and whose age was impossible to determine, and then in the headline of the article you spotted an expression like “slow lane,” – would you just go and give such a character a call? Due to the differences in our backgrounds and experience (on the one hand, the drinker; on the other, the distiller!) I was right! The main subjects that we intend to discuss include the history of how the Monkey came to be; our life stories and our everyday lives; the historical development of gin and the technology of distillation; the individual steps involved in the production of a craft gin; and the variety of botanicals that we use, their selection and processing. The juniper is definitely there, but the supporting cast is like an orchestra. For some time afterward at the Stählemühle we referred to Alexander as “King Louis” – this was a reference to the king of the band of monkeys in “The Jungle Book,” by Rudyard Kipling. In Austria, such distillates are called “Maiwipfelgeist,” since the spruce shoots emerge in the month of May. Heavens no. Through the discovery of quinine as a form of malaria prevention and the introduction of "tonic water", gin then rose to prominence as an important basis for a variety of cocktails and long drinks. Pretty much anyone can come up with something bland, after all, and so our tornado of perfectionism continued to cut a wayward swath through Monkey HQ. What’s the word again? I live in the UK and trying to find a bottle of Monkey 47 as a present – where can I find it? Rather, it is a widespread assumption that is simply false. I had, so to speak, a calling and not a career. I was in dire need of a bottle that day, and the fates were standing ready to assist. As a one-time industry outsider with a focus on quality one might call neurotic, you almost can’t avoid stumbling across this type of nonsense. The world of self-proclaimed spirits experts, craft adepts, and gin whisperers agrees: Gin doesn’t need to mature! Kiváló összhangjában az ízek harmóniája tökéletes ízélményt eredményez. In a complex interplay with the quality of our alcohol and of our ingredients, this process of pre-maceration with lingonberries did indeed represent a decisive advance, and thus in effect, amounted to the “deciphering of the Black Forest DNA code.”. 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. It was the most amazing gin to date complicated but delicious. Of course, this blend still lacked the fresh aromas of citrus and the entire floral superstructure we had been talking about. These factors also led to a change in the typical flavor profile, yielding a more complex and aromatic distillate. was, to be sure, one of my core competencies, and I could fall back on my experience working with a number of plant materials, all of which was relevant to our situation. Nicely said and couldn’t agree more. Instead, I opted for a slightly more creative variation on that theme. In my own defense I should note that when distilling fine fruit brandies, there is no need at all to choose a neutral spirit, as one must do with gin, which is, technically speaking, a “Geist” as defined by European Union rules. Assembling a fully fledged composition of aromas thus requires a range of different methods, and as you've probably guessed, there's nothing simple about it. It's that certain something that marries the rich untamed nature of the Black Forest's upper reaches to the extravagance of the British Empire. It really is quite special. This was, namely, the life story of the young officer and bon-vivant Mongomery Collins, the great-grandfather of our little Monkey. Infusing a gin with a fresh floral note is one of the most refined arts in distillation. 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. For all other products, please contact the manufacturer. I was floating on a cloud of sensory bliss. In other words, one gin may well be quite different from the next. We were only interested in using the peels of fresh lemons and grapefruits, so they needed to be entirely untreated; that meant no fungicides, pesticides, wax, or anything else. had, to our mutual surprise, come to an agreement! After tasting more than 25 neutral spirits, which varied with respect to their provenance and agricultural product base (and also, unfortunately, with respect to quality), we finally made our choice, having proven that “neutral” doesn't necessarily mean a distilled spirit is really “neutral” in all respects. Another myth busted! This gin would be handcrafted in the traditional manner, and would possess a greater individuality and be finer and more complex than any other gin that had existed up until the present. But the true Black Forest secret weapon turned out to be my rather coincidental discovery of, and improper application of the properties of the lingonberry. A few days later, I received a production quote along with the minimum quantity we’d have to order. OK, let's simplify that description somewhat: Gin is a spirit that is made using an agricultural spirit base, and flavored or cold-compounded with a juniper aroma, rather than real juniper berries. After stops in Stuttgart and Baiersbronn – a Black Forest town known for its cluster of Michelin-starred restaurants – we took off for Munich and Frankfurt. Believe me, the road from 120 possibilities to five is long and hard, but to my surprise, the two of us were mostly in agreement concerning sensory issues. What can I say in my own defense? Interesting review. They can be distinguished not only by their taste and level of sweetness, but also by their respective methods of production. I mentioned something about a pact with the devil, didn’t I? That makes everything easier, and above all, we don't give away all of our secrets!) 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. Thus, for the exceptional, individual, and perhaps somewhat eccentric flavor of our gin, we use a number of ingredients that do not appear in the recipes for historical English gins. In my case, the benefits of the minor deception I’d like to tell you about were short-lived indeed. From the beginning, we had a fresh, zesty gin with very delicate citrus aromas in mind, and we set out to find it with a similar pep in our step. The bottle is stoppered with a simple straight-sided cork, again like something from a chemistry lab (before rubber bungs became common). It gives me something to orite about too. The extraordinary quality of the Black Forest's spring water is essential to what we do. This breakthrough would, of course, also go on to have a long-term effect on the production of gin. Producers and distilleries keep the recipes for “their” varieties under lock and key, or they publish at the most a few rudimentary hints concerning their distillation process. And so, one day my father tossed a newspaper article headlined “Life in the Slow Lane” onto the kitchen table, and gave me a piece of paternal advice: “Give this guy a call!”. Nonetheless, we got along very well with each other, thanks to a few basic things we had in common – that is, our Swabian background and the homeowner's mentality that Swabians are famous for, along with the cultivated irony typical of our generation in Germany. A must for any real lover of high quality premium gin. Thus, I had to go out in search of a master distiller who could work with me to turn this idea into reality. This method of producing gin has nothing to do with distillation, and is exactly the opposite of what we are doing. You don’t exactly need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the number of botanicals we use is meant to symbolise a composition of aromas that’s as balanced as it is complex. But you know how fathers are – I was “reminded” over and over again of my filial obligation, and pestered to the point where I got over my allergic reaction to this “Robber Hotzenplotz,” this nice Fidel Castro doppelganger, and was willing to go dance with him around the tree trunks down by Lake Constance. A number of prominent and well-known barkeepers took the time in those weeks to taste, test, and comment on the finalists among our recipes – all of which amounted to a pivotal and important moment in the still-young history of Monkey 47. As a compound spirit, combining a fruit-based spirit (juniper, citrus, or berries) with an herbal spirit (herbs, blossoms, roots, or spices), gin presents the ultimate challenge for an artisanal distiller (surpassed only by fruit brandies!) Strangely enough, however, they say that the rolls tasted a bit different on that February morning back in 2010. 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. Whether with tonic, as a sling, martini, or gimlet – the unique and complex taste of Monkey 47 is an ideal … But sometimes in life, new paths open up ahead, and one needs only to follow them in order to find along the way something like self-fulfillment, or even a calling. Some years ago, Christoph produced distillates that were made with spruce shoots, and which in addition to the typical and unsurprising resin notes also contained quite pronounced limonenes, and thus gave off fresh aromas of citrus. Using a hole punch to simulate the perforated edges the finished product would have, we spent a few more weeks squabbling over the right colouring before putting our demons to rest for good in the spring of 2010. Just what we had been talking and thinking about a short time ago – and I had it in the glass right here in front of me. Nonetheless, the creation of a well-harmonized recipe presents a particular challenge for a distiller. Need to buy some Fever Tree Tonic before opening the Monkey Gin 47, can’t spoil it! (Please see our story about Montgomery Collins.) Savour every drop – it’s a cracking gin. (In the past 15 years just about everything in these areas has completely changed – we distill spirits today in a totally different manner from the previous generation.) It may not be reproduced in any way whatsoever without the prior consent of Waitrose Limited nor without due acknowledgement. In effect, Christoph had put a gun to my head, saying: “If I'm going to get involved, we're going to do everything according to my philosophy. You might have some luck contacting the Monkey 47 distillery or Aaron at theginisin.com. Before we get started, it's important to understand that there's more than one kind of gin. Yes, I had underestimated Alexander. They say that lies will catch up to you in the end. The mere sight of a summation sign makes my heart beat faster! This was all reported in articles in the larger national newspapers, and also in Stuttgart, the capital of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. A good gin will always be a good gin, and a bad gin simply a bad gin, irrespective of geographic location. You can get this gin from the off-licence The Vineyard, Ormeau Road, Belfast. For that reason, we shouldn't be mistaken for typical “spirits producers” or “liquor entrepreneurs”; we are schnapps distillers to the core. 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. I had bottles of about 20 different brands of gin set up, and my plan was to soften him up somewhat with a bit of shop talk. We sniffed, we tasted, we chattered away – and we had a marvelous time doing it. My sister looked at me, her eyes wide, and asked me, in a low voice and with a tone of embarrassment, if I perhaps had a little problem with alcohol. Great gin, nice article. This information is supplied for personal use only. With the addition of the lingonberry brandy, this rather flat gin, which had practically no aroma, was suddenly transformed into a spirit with a full-flavored, complex aroma, with a subtly fruity note and ... a tremendous, lingering finish! It was my turn to taste defeat: I was hence promoted, by foreign decree, from humble gin manufacturer to the Lord of the Ring. Basically, we came up that evening with a rough sketch of our perfect gin: a contemporary gin, that is, refreshing, and therefore not heavy with grain, but rather possessing a sweet, floral head note, fragrant, flowery but not overly so, with a fresh citrusy “mezzanine” or interim note, a solid heart note of juniper and intense spice emerging on the palate, complex but well harmonized, and a subtle, fruity base note that would resonate with the kind of persistence normally associated only with fruit brandies. "You can't do it any simpler" is one possible answer, but it's not the right one. I can hear you – a gin from Germany, isn't that strange? Is it worth the price? We were setting out to make gin together, not get married. Girding the cork is an engraved metal ring bearing the Latin words “EX PLURIBUS UNUM”, which means “Out of many, one” and was once one of the three mottos on the US seal (changed in 1956 to “In God we trust”). No thanks! And so it was that in November, 2008, I received a telephone call that set in motion a chain of events. Trade with the colonies, access to Middle Eastern and Asian spices and varieties of fruit, and the continuously developing technology of distillation, taken all together, contributed to a lasting improvement in the quality of gin. But if I wind up going bankrupt, I’ll at least go out in style – and with my own bottle! Ultimately, the ample empirical evidence we compiled in the two years we spent developing the Monkey’s aroma profile determines how long we macerate. First question: Who’s awake at four in the morning and has access to a mill? Wow, great article about a superb gin. Because as much fun as it can be to explore the sensory differences among various distillates, anyone who has ever tasted only 20 gins in earnest, one after another, will know that this is not child's play. From Holland, the revamped distilled spirit traveled to England, and in the 18th Century it rose to the status of a ubiquitous national drug. It was a high-volume business, and prolonged development timelines were not financially feasible. We did not merely intend to produce one more dry gin just like any other, not in the least. We can't imagine doing it any other way! In a number of very different sensory and distillation experiments with about 20 different neutral spirits based on agricultural products – wine, potatoes, fruit, sugar beets, and various types of grain – I came to realize the extremely important role that a neutral spirit plays as a source of flavor of, and the base for, a good distilled spirit. Cheers, Sigi! These gins are not however, strictly speaking, “London Dry” gins, and this approach will never yield a complex distillate, since the various terpenes and fatty acids interact with each other in the heat of the distillation process, so that they augment and alter each other's molecular structures. Indeed, the unrivaled accumulation of know-how in this German state makes Great Britain, the home of gin, look like a miniature distilling monoculture by comparison. Sigfried Maser, the bakery’s as-yet good-humoured proprietor, saw before him a visibly addled gin manufacturer who was asking for permission to grind up “just a few” herbs. This anecdote was the initial spark that lit up Alexander's imagination, leading first of all to several sleepless nights, and then to the decision to bring this historic Black Forest gin back to life! in “exile”…. The neat gin is rich and aromatic, with a complex nose. If anyone wants to try a special version of it I can highly recommend the distillers cut of monkey. Decades later, during renovation of the guest house, a wooden box was discovered, which contained a hand-labelled bottle and some papers. The reason for this is delightfully simple: The Black Forest region not only benefits from its natural landscape, venerable distilling tradition, and innovative inhabitants, but it also provides essential ingredients, such as pure spring water and exceptionally aromatic berries and varieties of fruit. In the Sicilian community of Sant'Alfio, which lies on a plane of lava that cooled more than 2,000 years ago, pesticide-free lemons flourish thanks to the mineral-rich volcanic soil. At the age of 35, Alexander had already had a tremendously successful career as a top-level manager, and after several stints in Europe, he was working in Detroit for Nokia, in charge of sales to the automotive industry in the USA. I am a gin connoisseur and have been for 18 years. The origins of Monkey 47 could have come from some sort of work of fiction. I think it’s another tree. There is absolutely no indication that this is the case – and today, it seems, the pieces of the puzzle have come together, and the world of distilled spirits once again has Alexander firmly in its grip! And thanks to several coincidences, I met up relatively quickly with Christoph Keller, who is one of the best distillers in the world, and makes legendary schnapps. Today the ideal is a fresh and lively-tasting gin, with a subtle and well-balanced flavor architecture that should not be marred by overpowering grain or bread notes (as is the case with, for example, the traditional “Genever” distilled spirit). A “carboy,” or glass bottle containing that distillate can still be found standing today in our maturation warehouse. It's the ideal environment for producing the essences that are so fundamental to the taste and aroma of Monkey 47. All the basic aromas you'd want from a good gin - refreshing acidity, lasting bitter notes, and a slight sweetness - can be found among the natural strengths of this tart fruit. And then a dubious succession of coincidences led to a fateful outcome: a friend of Alexander's from the Black Forest told him one evening in passing about a British military officer who had married into an innkeeping family in the central Black Forest, and who then, together with a local distiller, created a gin for himself and the guests at his restaurant. Today there are probably two or even three times that number, since the number of new gin brands has grown in the intervening period to more than 1,000. And so I just tried constantly to extract the best of all possible distillates, the most typical and characteristic essence of fruit, wild fruits, herbs, nuts, vegetables, grain, and spices. 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. 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! And lo and behold: these two different types of people (the two of us, that is!) We have already described above the legally mandated standards with respect to gin. The original recipe is credited to one Wing Commander Mongomery Collins; born in 1909 in Madras in British India to a British Diplomat, he was posted to Germany in 1945, after World War 2. The man may not have known a thing about distillation, not a blessed thing about long-chain fatty acids and terpenes, but his ability to perceive and interpret tastes and smells was quite well developed. Meanwhile, I initially had no idea how complex this aspect could be. It cost just seven euros to make that old apothecary vessel my own, but my plan was to take it to a glassworks, where it would serve as inspiration for a custom-designed brown glass bottle. Spoke to shop after to let them know about the cork pretended to be interested but not really…. This spirit came from France, and contained 96.4 percent alcohol by volume. Contrary to popular belief, cold maceration involves steeping these ingredients at a warm ambient temperature – in our case, around 20 degrees (Celsius). The finish is long, dry and spicy and herbal. Instead of manufacturing each individual ring, we would cut them from a length of stainless steel pipe. At that point, it look less than an hour for the Hummels to work its magic. 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. But since it is the least expensive method of producing gin, it has proven to be very attractive to producers who are in it just for the money. Just the kind of gin that we would both like to drink! Things were getting serious; it was time to produce the first batch. This hobby grew at first into a passion, and then it became a career. Along with conventional maceration and distillation techniques, we employ the principle of percolation, which involves channelling alcoholic vapours through more fresh botanicals using Carter-Head stills. As an absolute newcomer to the distiller's craft, I profited back then from two circumstances of inestimable value. This characterization of him was not necessarily a disparaging one, but rather, it reflected the detached and ironic way in which we dealt with each other in this first phase of feeling each other out. Yes, that's the way it is – and real soccer, I mean, football, is only to be found in England. After the first ten little test glasses, the color in your face starts to get darker; after the next ten, the muscles in your jaws become somewhat stiff, and after 10 more of those little glasses, your palate can't perceive much of anything anymore. I first noticed it for its label, which caught my eye in a bar in Amsterdam. and just cannot be compared to simple, mass-produced spirits such as, for example, whiskeys, vodka, rum, or tequila. We find ourselves in a valley in the Black Forest, just about right in the middle, in the region around the town of Freudenstadt, far away from the big highways and the already halfway-rebuilt big cities that had been bombed-out, during the War. There on the table lay the rough draft of the sensory profile of a perfect gin that would be a genuine, handcrafted distillate! Alcohol is an essential and important component in every gin, in addition to water and a number of plant-based ingredients and spices -- or so it should be. Ethyl alcohol made from molasses, you see, has a special property that enables it to stably bond sweet flavors in particular, which are defined by terpenes and long-chain fatty acids, and to carry those flavors. The “Privatbrennerei Jacobi” and its brands were sold, but Alexander's father, Jürgen Stein, has maintained a number of connections to the distilling business, along with his epicurean appreciation for fine spirits, right up to the present. This sounds very interesting, I’m tempted. Fortunately, producers of Dry Gin have to follow more rigorous production guidelines and employ methods that yield higher-quality products. Well, I must say, it is truely the most exciting and complex gin I’ve ever had. The resulting distillate is then allowed time to harmonise and develop a perfect balance. 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. This was the “Stählemühle,” a mill property that came with an agricultural distilling license that was granted in the mid-19th Century. 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. It’s the best off-licence I’ve seen in N. Ireland. For true “brandies” are made by fermenting a fruit mash, in which selected yeast strains produce alcohol as they break down the sugars in the fruit (glucose and fructose). But that question, too, would be quickly settled – once again, due to a coincidence. OK, we admit it – Schwarzwald Dry Gin is not one of the official classifications. It's going to be a great thing, but it will take a while, you understand – the 120 distillations to get the aroma notes right, and all that -- and so we need a good-sized loan, but we don't have any collateral for you.” I was breaking out in a sweat every night in my bed.

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