Stepping into the Southwark Tavern on the edge of Borough Market, the familiar comforts of a classic British pub were waiting to welcome us. We were given a warm greeting by the pub landlord as he handed us a gin sour to kick off an evening of merriment and taste splendour. We were in the city centre to taste the latest instalment of the Monkey 47 Experimentum 2y06 series.
Making its way from The Black Forest in Germany, the Schwarzwald Dry Gin distiller has been travelling around the world in search of inspiration towards the perfect gin. The Experimentum series has been researching, testing and analysing flavour combinations using the quintessential ingredients and notes from major cities. The latest in the series, London has finally been selected to be represented in gin form.
It’s an indisputable fact that British culture would not be what it is without the idea of a pub. For a gin company, this is a very challenging flavour to isolate – you wouldn’t want your gin to taste like beer, right? Monkey 47 has managed to synthesise a balance of its Black Forest 47 botanicals with the flavours of honey and mint sauce – two absolutely iconic flavours found in London pub grub and Sunday Roasts, taking any Brit back to their fondest memories. Peeking through the book of aromatics and botanicals, very few of the 47 are public knowledge, with the majority staying top secret.
Named for the Royal Air Force Commander Montgomery ‘Monty’ Collins and his love for Berlin zoo’s Monkey inhabitants, Monkey 47 is no stranger to travel, nor the scientific approach to successfully bottle up the essence of a city. Flasks, beakers, notebook sketches and annotations scattered throughout the pub’s underground laboratory highlighted the process that was reflective of Monty’s original attempt in the Black Forest. The series clearly highlights the creativity and ingenuity of creator Alexander Stein, who introduced the newest chapter with anecdotes and stories of his own beekeeping experiences, and his love of British food.
As part of the release of the 500 limited edition experimentum distils, Monkey 47 welcomed Arcadia into a night of celebration of these London delights. Being on the doorstep of Borough Market, it was fantastic to see that local honey and mint sauce merchants were given centre stage in bringing out the typical flavours that we know and love. As well as the tasting of the limited edition, the Monkey 47 Dry Gin made an appearance in other surprising forms – gin mojitos celebrated the mint, Bee’s Knees cocktails celebrated the honey and along with the typical pub grub making an appearance, gin shandies were served to really solidify the pub theme.
The Experimentum series 2y06 has been running for a while now, covering such cities as Amsterdam, Zurich and Vienna but with the London edition now front and centre, it’s really time to celebrate. Surprise your senses with a memory-inducing reflection of the dark and cosy spots we treasure so much and enjoy the pub flavours of mint sauce and honey in one of the world’s favourite dry gins.
The edition is exclusively available at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.