Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
- Luca Rädler
The Black Forrest region in Germany is usually known for ham, cherry cake and cuckoo clocks. While that might not sound too exciting for everyone, there is still more to be discovered. We visited the distillery of Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin, located on an idyllic farmyard to find out more about this drink and it’s unusual story.
After the second World War, a British Wing Commander of Royal Air Force called Montgomery ‘Monty’ Collins move to Berlin to work in the administrative department of the British sector. He was deeply affected by the destruction of the city and decided to be a part of the rebuilding of the Berlin Zoo, where he adopted a little Monkey called Max.
After his work in Berlin was done, he took over a small inn in the Black Forrest and started making gin, using his own secret recipe. This gin was a combination of British tradition, indian herbs and fruits and the soft spring water of the region – all in one bottle.
But Monty’s trail disappeared in the 1960s. Many years later a box was found, containing a bottle of gin, the recipe and a drawing of a monkey. That day, Monkey 42 Schwarzwald Dry Gin was born.
No matter if you believe this story or not, the two partners Alexander Stein and Christoph Keller really do make up a special duo, who produce really special gin. While working for a big European mobile phone producer, Stein decided to quit that business and to start something new. His family already had a history of bringing other alcoholic brands to Europe, so together with Christoph Keller, owner of the internationally renowned Stählemühle distillery, they started to experiment with recipes for their own beverage.
Today Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin contains exactly 47 different herbs or fruits, one third coming from the region of Black Forrest. Juniper, cranberries and local spring water, among other things, are responsible for the unique flavor. After being distilled, the gin is stored in stone vessels for three months.
This gin is not a typical product from a region like the Black Forrest. But judging from Alexander’s and Christoph’s success, and how gin-aficionados around the globe love it, the risk of combining different countries’ traditions and fusing them with a lovely story and beautiful packaging was definitely worth it.
All images © Marcus Werner