Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Takes Over Apothecary in Poblacion
Manila/ Delish/ Happenings

A Night in Poblacion: What is it Like to Party with Monkey Shoulder?

Monkey Shoulder bottle

Every now and then, we get that impulse to monkey around, so why not do it with Monkey Shoulder?

As a blended malt whisky, Monkey Shoulder has cemented a reputation over the past 20 years as one of the best in the world. Combining three single malts using their signature formula, they’ve created a truly unique blend that’s “made for mixing.”

Much like our favorite pairings – champorado with tuyo (chocolate rice porridge with salted dried fish), fish and chips, and hot chocolate during rainy nights – this award-winning liquor is good on its own, but even better when combined to form a cocktail.

And during their recent bar takeover at Apothecary in Poblacion, The Beat Asia got to test just how great this world-famous whisky is through their six curated cocktails: OMG!, Monkey Jam Sour, Monkey Colada, Monkey Go Bananas, Chimp-ion, and Nutty Old Monkey.

Monkey Shoulder

OMG!

Described as a “crowd pleaser,” OMG! mixes Monkey Shoulder with ginger ale and orange. Light and refreshing, this drink doesn’t pack a punch but it’s crystal clear why this drink is a home-run favorite. Perfect to kickstart your evening, OMG! promises a great night and prepares you for the equally delicious drinks ahead.

And if you’re wondering about the name, it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction upon first sip – OMG! actually stands for Orange, Monkey, and Ginger. Also, it goes by a different name that may be more familiar to Monkey Shoulder fans: Ginger Monkey.

OMG! or Ginger Monkey is a solid starter drink that is even easy to make at home. Most bar takeovers have us lamenting by the end of the night because – unless you’re a trained bartender and obviously, we aren’t – we’d likely never get to drink these cocktails again. Fortunately, Monkey Shoulder posts their best cocktail recipes on their website and you can create this one yourself in less than 10 minutes. Just follow the recipe here.

Monkey Shoulder
OMG! or Ginger Monkey

Monkey Jam Sour

How can we say no to a drink that is said to taste like “whisky and donuts”? Not only does that sound like an excellent (though some might say odd) match, but it’s also undoubtedly irresistible to those who have a sweet tooth – and we proudly carry that dessert-loving flag!

True enough, Monkey Jam Sour tastes as advertised. To compare, we initially likened the drink to a red iced tea, which, here in the Philippines, can be quite sweet with a hint of sourness. The whisky is subtle, hiding underneath the generous dollop of berry jam that threatened to almost take over the entire drink. It’s a drink whose scales can easily tip over one side or another – a bit more jam and it’ll be too sweet, but adding more whisky can ruin the harmony altogether. So while you can make this drink at home, make sure to follow the recipe to a T.

Monkey Shoulder
Clockwise: Monkey Jam Sour, Monkey Go Bananas, and Monkey Colada

Monkey Colada

If, for whatever reason, you need a reminder that it’s summer beyond the sweltering heat then this drink fits the bill. During the event, they said the Monkey Colada would taste like “that tropical holiday you’d rather be on,” and while we do love a good beach vacation, we were perfectly content sipping on the Monkey Colada as we took in the orange-hued interior of Apothecary. Anyway, if we closed our eyes, we were able to imagine that we were hanging out in Maremegmeg in El Nido, watching the sunset as varying shades of yellow and orange painted the sky. But while this drink can take you there mentally, it physically can’t tear you away from the bustling Metro. Monkey Colada will have to provide that tropical feeling for now.

We’d describe the drink as subtly creamy and tart. Personally, what we love about coconut cream in cocktails is that it carries none of the heaviness that comes with dairy. The taste is mild, but perfectly complements the Monkey Shoulder and sharp pineapple taste. All in all, it’s another summer classic, bespoke for cocktail drinkers who want to taste none of the liquor and only feel its aftermath. If you plan to DIY this drink, make sure to have fresh pineapple, coconut cream, and lime. Beyond that, this six-minute recipe is all you need – and perhaps a blender.

Monkey Shoulder
(L-R) Monkey Go Bananas and Chimp-ion

Monkey Go Bananas

Are you a fan of those banana-shaped hard candies? Cause this drink tasted just like it. Much like the others, the Monkey Go Bananas cleverly tucked the whiskey away as it distracted us with a banana – and like a monkey crazy for its treat, we eagerly welcomed the diversion. However, we kept a close eye on these sweet cocktails; they can easily make you go bananas if you’re not too careful. Playful as it was, the drink was easily a favorite amongst the guests that night.

Unfortunately, there’s no recipe for this drink on the Monkey Shoulder website. Given the whirlwind of steps and ingredients the bartender pulled to make this drink, however, we think the Monkey Go Bananas is best left to the professionals to craft. Hopefully, we’ll get to try this one again next time.

Nutty Old Monkey

We confess how this drink was made and what goes into it escapes our memories, but it was thrilling to watch the making of this cocktail. As a drink that involves fire and something being smoked, however, there’s no doubt that the Nutty Old Monkey is something we can’t make unless we want our houses to burn down – and it’ll be difficult to explain cocktail-making fiasco to our insurance providers.

Still, this was one drink we would’ve loved to repeatedly try and if it was promised that a hangover would never happen, we might have. Its preparation was fascinating, and the flavor met our raised expectations. Smokey and nutty, with a hint of creaminess, this innovative drink manages to maintain a classy profile, one that would appease those steering clear of sweet cocktails.

Monkey Shoulder
Nutty Old Monkey

Chimp-ion

Another drink that’ll have you feeling the summer vibes, but this time, Chimp-ion takes you to Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. Their take on the classic Bellini, this drink mixes Monkey Shoulder with champagne and a bit of peach. A fresh drink that revives you after a long day of work, the Chimp-ion summarily caps off the evening as it makes you feel like a champ in the process.

Monkey Shoulder

As we downed this drink, determined to sample the entire menu so we could provide our honest verdict as to which drink stood out the most, we realized how seamlessly Monkey Shoulder blended with each cocktail. We’ve had our fair share of cocktails that leaned heavy on the sugar (thus leading to an inevitable headache the following morning) or those that didn’t mix quite as well as the liquor punches you in the face on the first sip.

Much to our delight, the Monkey Shoulder bar takeover presented a well-balanced menu that catered to whisky fans, light drinkers, and cocktail connoisseurs. Before the night ended, we couldn’t resist trying our hand at the arcade machine they installed for the night. Of course, our Heihachi was wiped out by Armor King in the retro Tekken 2 game — we blame Monkey Shoulder.

Monkey Shoulder

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