Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.
Monkey 47 – Schwartzwald Dry Gin
Monkey 47 is a batch distilled and handcrafted gin from Germany’s Black Forest. In total, 47 handpicked plant ingredients prepared in extremely soft water from the Black Forest lend Monkey 47 unrivaled complexity and quality. Since its launch in 2010, aficionados, bartenders and connoisseurs the world over have come to appreciate the incredible complexity and harmony. Monkey 47 has been part of Pernod Ricard since 2016. To stay with the 47 theme, the ABV is 47% as well.
The higher proof alcohol is clearly noticeable in the nose. There is quite some ethanol mixed with grassy notes, pine, citrus and botanicals. This gin has so many ingredients that it’s impossible to discover them all just from the aroma. On the palate the gin is spicy with a ginger-like bite. There is a fruity sweetness and there are herbs as well. This is complex with a nice structure and mouthfeel. This gin has depth. The finish has some pine, wood and citrus. I would pair this with a Tatuaje, West Tampa Black or with something with a maduro wrapper. Something like a 601 Maduro or a Wise Man Maduro. In the Cuban world, I would go for the Partagas Maduro.
Gin & Tonic
The amount of botanicals actually makes this gin tonic have a nose. Normally the tonic and the ice mask all the aroma, but with the gins that have more than average botanicals, there is something to smell. Just a milder, muted version of the aroma of the neat gin. The mouthfeel is kind of dry. The cocktail has a hint of citrus and grass, pines and wood. But the tonic masks much of the complexity of the gin and that’s kind of disappointing. This isn’t your everyday gin & tonic, but monkey 47 isn’t the best gin for this kind of cocktail in my humble opinion. I think most cigars will great for this cocktail, maybe a Rocky Patel Edge Corojo or an Oscar Valladares Superfly to name two.
And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of Gordon’s London Dry gin
4 ounces or 120ml of Tonic water
Fill a highball or Collins glass with ice. Add the gin, then the tonic and stir gently.
On the nose this is exactly what you expect. Mint from the mint leaves and mint leaf garnish with lime from the lime juice. Both aromas are overpowering the gin completely. The taste is something else. The lime makes it tart, but the grass and pine from the gin work wonders with the mint leaves. The simple syrup brings just enough sweetness to balance the cocktail and it brings the citrus down to a level where pairing with a cigar possible. But it has to be a stronger cigar, full bodied and full flavoured. Nothing too sweet so maduro is out of the equation. Something Habano, something Corojo. Maybe an Opus X? Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco? Perdomo Habano? Those are the kind of cigars you have to look at.
And now for the East Side recipe:
2 slices of cucumber
7 mint leaves
2 ounces or 60ml of Monkey 47 Gin
1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
¾ ounce or 22½ml of Simple Syrup
Garnish: cucumber slice and a mint leaf
Freeze a cocktail glass. Add the cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker and carefully muddle. Then add the, mint, syrup, gin, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker, fill the shaker halfway with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Double strain the cocktail in the frozen coupe glass and garnish with a cucumber slice and a mint leaf.