Five minutes with… Axel Klubescheidt

Brummell talks to the global ambassador for Black Forest gin distillers Monkey 47 about the joy of a corpse reviver cocktail, staying curious and The Big Lebowski

Food and Drink 13 Jul 2022

Monkey 47's distillery in the Black Forest

Monkey 47's distillery in the Black Forest

What sets Monkey 47 apart from other gins?

To put it simply, the unique aroma and flavour. We use high-quality ingredients for the purpose of creating an exclusive and powerful scent that can only be achieved through our unique distilling process. We use the conventional maceration and distillation techniques; we also use the principle of percolation, which means we channel alcoholic vapours through fresh botanicals. This ensures that the fragile, flowery aroma components, in particular, aren’t destroyed in the distillation process. The great thing about the Black Forest is its abundance of ingredients for us to explore, right down to the extraordinary spring water in the Black Forest that we use for our gin.

Monkey 47 gin
Monkey 47 gin

What would you say to persuade British people to try a gin from the Black Forest?

Try it. Taste it. Like it. Repeat

What is your favourite way to drink Monkey 47?

Well, you can’t beat the classic Monkey 47 and tonic – it is the star of our show and perfectly balances the aromas. Monkey 47 also works really well in sweet and sour drinks: a Tom Collins, a gin fizz or a corpse reviver no 2.

Can you recommend a cocktail to make using Monkey 47?

I would always go for a corpse reviver no 2, as I mentioned earlier. It’s such a versatile drink and just ticks all the right boxes. It is made from 20ml Monkey 47, 20ml Cointreau, 20ml Cocchi Americano, 20ml lemon juice and a dash of absinthe – shaken together with ice and served with a twist of orange.

Monkey 47 uses the lingonberry or Black Forest cranberry for extra flavourMonkey 47 uses the lingonberry or Black Forest cranberry for extra flavour
Monkey 47 uses the lingonberry or Black Forest cranberry for extra flavour

Apart from Monkey 47, what ingredient can you not live without and why?

I could never be without the basics – bread, butter and beer. They are essential. In terms of cocktail ingredients, I think it would be soda water. It is the perfect thirst quencher and can be matched with any spirit as the perfect neutral mixer. 

Can you introduce some of the notes of Monkey 47 and what makes them unusual?

Our production methods are quite different from those of other gin makers. Our unique processes allow our master distiller to single out specific flavours within our mixes. We have the benefit of being able to use our local lingonberry, the Black Forest cranberry: this is our secret weapon and something that gives Monkey 47 that little bit extra. The number 47 is unique to us – we have 47 ingredients, 47% abv and use the additional techniques of steam extraction and resting to make our gin powerful and smooth.

Can you describe the difference between the Schwarzwald Dry, Barrel Cut and Schwarzwald Sloe gin and what you’d use each for?

Our Dry is our signature gin that you find in bars around the world and is used in your classic gin and tonic. The Sloe gin differs in two ways; one, it is more of a cordial because we add a higher sugar content and two, it only has 29% abv rather than our golden number of 47%. Our Barrel Cut is aged for 180 days in our new mulberry casks; this gives it a bit more of an edge and is perfect for a brass monkey (made from 50ml Monkey 47 Barrel Cut, 30ml tawny port, 2.5ml sugar syrup, two dashes of orange bitters and two dashes of Angostura bitters).

What’s next for Monkey 47?

In true Monkey style, we are consistently curious. We are always bouncing off one another for new and interesting ideas, strategies, or ingredients. There is so much we can explore that the ideas are endless. Currently, we are looking at what the new Experimentum Series limited editions and Distiller’s Cut limited edition might bring to the table.

If you could craft a Monkey 47 cocktail for anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I love these questions. My choice would be The Dude from The Big Lebowski. I would swap out his White Russian for a Monkey 47 tonic. Then we would sit and chat, and I would ask him if he wanted to go for a bowling session.