June 12, 2020

10 Exciting Variations on the Monkey Shoulder Cocktail

 In the world of marketing, branding is everything. A great brand tells a compelling story. It has a memorable image and name. It catches the eye and the interest of potential customers, making them want to discover more and really connect with the company. And when it comes to whiskey, few brands have captured this as well as Monkey Shoulder.

Although only established in 1990, the Kininvie distillery has the distinction of being owned by William Grant & Sons. Grant, giants among whiskey producers for over 100 years, also own the nearby Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries (as well as three others), all set within the legendary (in whiskey terms) Speyside region.

This entire region, way up in the northeast Highlands of Scotland, is legally protected by the UK government as being set aside for whiskey distillation. There are more than 50 distilleries here, accounting for almost half of Scotland's whiskey production - which kind of proves the point!

So, why here? Well, firstly, it is close to the farms that supply the barley. Also, it's close to the River Spey and the seaport of Garmouth. Compared to other parts of Scotland, Speyside is warmer and drier. The water here has fewer dissolved minerals than other regions, which some say contributes to the flavor of the end product. It has even been suggested that quartzite is the reason for this, stopping higher levels of minerals from entering the water.

Whatever the reasons, they have ensured that Speyside consistently produces top-quality whiskey, enjoyed around the globe. Two such Speyside whiskeys, Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet, are considered to be the two best-selling single malts in the world.

Why 'Monkey Shoulder'?

We've seen how important whiskey production is to Scotland and Speyside in particular. And as with any well-established industry, it is infused with a sense of heritage and history. Which is where the unusual name found its roots.

The term 'Monkey Shoulder' is something of a sad tribute to the hard-working Maltmen who would labor long hours turning the barley by hand. Over time, they would develop a repetitive strain injury that caused one arm to droop, rather like a monkey. Hence the name that was given to the condition; Monkey Shoulder.

The whiskey lends itself perfectly to mixing to create a range of supremely enjoyable cocktails. While the seasoned whiskey connoisseur may blanch at the idea of mixing their favorite tipple, Monkey Shoulder steps in to rescue them from their dilemma. It retains the quality and pedigree of a well-crafted single malt, combining three excellent examples specifically designed for mixing. Rather than losing the distinctive flavor, the drink adds something special to each cocktail, allowing you to broaden your drinking horizons and take your enjoyment of whiskey to new levels.

You could experiment to find your own favorite, but here are a few recipe suggestions to inspire you...

Monkey Jam Sour cocktail recipe

  • Angostura bitters - 1 dash
  • Monkey Shoulder - 50 ml
  • Sugar Syrup - 5 ml
  • Jam - 2 teaspoons
  • Lemon juice - 20 ml
  • Soda water

Method - add all ingredients (except soda water) to a shaker and add some ice. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Top up with soda water.

Show Me The Monkey! Cocktail recipe

  • Monkey Shoulder - 50 ml
  • Drambuie - 25 ml
  • Apple juice - 100 ml
  • Fresh mint leaves x 4

Method - shake all ingredients together, pour into a tall glass, add a slice of banana, and a couple of mint leaves to garnish.

Monkey Shoulder Pina Colada cocktail

  • Monkey Shoulder 50 ml
  • Lime juice - 20 ml
  • Fresh pineapple juice - 40 ml
  • Coco Lopez - 20 ml
  • A pinch of salt
  • (optional) a dash of angostura bitters

Method - blend all the ingredients along with 3 ice cubes. Pour into a tall glass over ice. Add as much garnish as you like!

Ice Ice Monkey cocktail

  • Monkey Shoulder - 45 ml
  • Lime juice - 15 ml
  • Spiced Earl Grey syrup* - 45 ml
  • Ginger ale (for topping up)
  • Cucumber and mint to garnish

Method - pour Monkey Shoulder, lime juice, and syrup into a tall glass. Add ice and stir gently. Top up with ginger ale and finish off with fresh mint and cucumber peel. ?

*Earl Grey syrup can be easily made at home! Just add 1 cup of caster sugar and 1 cup of water to a small pan. Stir while it heats and allow to boil until it is syrupy. Add 3 spiced Earl Grey teabags and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Throw away the teabags. Once cooled, you can keep the syrup in the fridge for about a month.

Mixed Up Monkey Cocktail recipe

  • Monkey Shoulder - 1 1/2 parts
  • Mint syrup - 3/4 part
  • Fresh lemon juice - 1/2 part
  • Soda - 3 parts
  • Mint leaves

Method - shake together the whiskey, syrup, and lemon juice. Top up with soda and add the mint to garnish.

Mandarin Mule Cocktail recipe

  • Monkey Shoulder - 1 1/2 parts
  • Fresh lime juice - 1/2 part
  • Simple syrup - 1/4 part
  • Ginger ale - 2 parts
  • Raspberries x 5

Method - 'muddle' the raspberries (simply place them in the glass and press them gently with a spoon - or, if you prefer, a professional cocktail 'muddler') add the ingredients apart from the ginger ale, then shake well. Double strain, then pour into a tall glass over ice and top up with ginger ale.

Garnish with a slice of orange.

Tanooki Suit cocktail

  • Monkey Shoulder - 50 ml
  • Fresh orange juice - 25 ml
  • lemon juice - 25 ml
  • Angostura bitters - 3 dashes
  • Ginger ale - 80 ml

Method - add ingredients to a tall glass, apart from the ginger ale. Add ice, then slowly top up with ginger ale. Garnish with candied ginger and a sprig of mint.

Ginger Monkey cocktail recipe

  • Monkey Shoulder - 50 ml
  • Dry ginger ale - 120 ml
  • Orange wedge x 1

Method - fill a tall glass with ice, add the monkey shoulder and ginger ale, stir gently, add the garnish.

The possibilities are endless, so try these out and use your imagination to make some exciting variations. Remember, be safe, be responsible, but above all, have some fun and enjoy yourself! Check out our blog for more cool cocktail recipes for men.

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