There is a well-known and much-quaffed German drink, traditionally served on May Day, called ‘Waldmeisterbowle’. It’s a mouthful by name, but also by nature — brimming with bold, foraged flavours found on the forest floors of northern Europe. With every gulp, you’ll get notes of orange and nutty straw. But the foremost flavour of this aromatic wine? Sweet woodruff.
A fragrant creeping herb, sweet woodruff has dainty leaves and delicate white flowers. And it’s used to create many things. ‘Waldmeisterbowle’, for one. Potpourri, for a second. And, this year, the latest ‘Distiller’s Cut’ expression from Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. Another thoroughly palatable, thoroughly German export, Monkey 47 has been distilled for over a decade in the Black Forest — and uses more botanicals than even the most ambitious May Day wine.
47 botanicals, if you hadn’t already made the leap. And, whether these are lemongrass or liquorice, juniper or jasmine, cloves or cardamom, the Schwarzwald dry gin is as spirited a sipper as you’re ever likely to uncork. And this year’s ‘Distiller’s Cut’ — the brand’s limited, much-anticipated yearly release — swirls sweet woodruff into the mix.
Plucked from the forest just beyond the distillery’s gates in the Black Forest, Monkey 47’s seasoned foragers have cut down their carbon footprint with the latest limited-edition. And, thanks to high levels of coumarin, a compound with a bitter taste tempered by vanilla notes, the sweet woodruff slips seamlessly into the brand’s existing gin recipe; enhancing baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, whilst also introducing a lip-smacking, sapid base to the spirit.
But this tweaking is nothing new. Because, for the last dozen years, Monkey 47 has unveiled an annual ‘Distiller’s Cut’ — with each limited bottling introducing a painstakingly picked 48th ingredient into its tried-and-tested blend. In past editions, these bonus botanicals have included Norway spruce (2012), fir honey (2016), and mace (2019).
But the unique, pungent aroma of sweet woodruff promises to add something wholly different to the 12th in this sumptuous series. First dried and desiccated, the piquant herb is introduced to a special batch of Monkey 47, and left to mature in traditional earthenware containers. And it’s here where the masterly distillation and complex flavours combine to create a seriously singular gin.
Because Monkey 47 is robust and powerful even before the sweet woodruff is added. With plenty of spice, fruit and herb flavours, it’s as well-structured a spirit as you’re ever likely to twin with tonic — and both amateur drinkers and aficionados the world over have unlocked and unpicked further citric, woody and floral notes by creating cocktails as innovative as the blend itself.
Any cocktail connoisseurs can seek out these serves in London, at The White Horse in Mayfair. Concocted using the limited-edition gin, an exclusive menu will be available for the coming weeks, and bottles of the gin itself will be on sale exclusively at Hedonism Wines for £84, from the 25th November.
“Now in its 12th year,” says Alexander Stein, Founder of Monkey 47 of the latest limited-edition, “this renowned cult classic continues to set the hearts of bartenders and gin enthusiasts around the world racing. This year’s Distiller’s Cut is proof that good things really can be found right before your eyes.
“At the Black Forest Distillery,” he adds, “one of the experiences we’re really proud to offer guests is an exploration of the amazing ingredients that can be sourced within 47km of the distillery – this year’s Distiller’s Cut is a homage to these hidden gems, and further proof of how we leave no stone unturned when it comes to adventures of flavour.”
Monkey 47 Distiller's Cut 2022
Want more from Monkey 47? Here’s how to make the Schwarzwald Dry Gin’s ‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail…
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