Launched in 2005 and created for maximum approachability, Monkey Shoulder is a blended Scotch that’s a fan favorite. And in case you were wondering, no, it’s not meant for monkeys’ consumption (though we’d assume they’d like it as much as we do).
The Scottish malt whisky brand doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has been successful in bringing Scotch whisky to a younger generation of drinkers.
Thirsty for more? Read on for 10 more facts you should know about Monkey Shoulder.
It’s made to be mixed.
Unlike many whisky brands, which are made to be drunk straight or on the rocks, Monkey Shoulder was designed as a mixing spirit. It can be transformed into a delicious whisky ginger or a “lazy” Old Fashioned, and the brand even claims to be a great replacement for rum in a poolside classic.
It’s all about that blend.
Some drinks pros turn up their noses at blended Scotch. But unlike most blended whiskies, which are combinations of malt and grain whiskey, Monkey Shoulder is made from one hundred percent malt.
The number 27 has an unexpected meaning.
Monkey Shoulder was once made exclusively from a mixture of three well-respected single-malt whiskies: Balvenie, Kininvie, and Glenfiddich. As demand grew, the brand introduced other whiskies into the blend, with three single-malts still comprising the blend for each batch. The blend uses nine casks for each single malt. Hence, the blend is labeled “Batch 27.”
No monkeys were harmed in the making of this whisky.
Wondering where Monkey Shoulder gets its unique name? We were, too. According to Monkey Shoulder, the name is inspired by the traditional malt whisky distillation process in which malted barley was mixed by hand with shovels. This labor-intensive process often caused a shoulder injury to workers, causing their arms to hang low like those of a monkey. This injury was therefore dubbed “monkey shoulder” — the inspiration for Monkey Shoulder’s name.
You probably know its siblings.
As the saying goes, you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Spirits are no different. Luckily, Monkey Shoulder has some well-respected friends. The Scotch brand is made by the same family that’s behind some of the biggest names in liquor, William Grant & Sons. The parent company also makes Hendrick’s Gin, Glenfiddich Scotch, and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.
Monkey Shoulder is a bartender favorite.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Scotch will break the bank. There are plenty — mostly single-malt — options that are as delicious as they are affordable. At only $25 for a 750-milliliter bottle, you can mix up Monkey Shoulder cocktails on the daily.
Monkey Shoulder can be enjoyed solo.
As much as they love stirring up Monkey Shoulder in cocktails, bartenders and reviewers alike agree that the blended Scotch is also delicious neat and on the rocks — something that’s unique at such a low price. Drinks pros consistently comment on the Scotch’s smooth taste, richness, and complexity.
Monkey Shoulder went on tour.
In classic rock star fashion, Monkey Shoulder went out on the road, touring the country to give the people what they want: lots of booze. Back in 2018, the brand enlisted a truck topped with a giant shaker — called the “Monkey Mixer” — to drive around the 50 states with a mission to redefine Scotch’s role in the cocktail industry. While Scotch can often be taken seriously, the brand used this stunt to show imbibers that it’s OK to have a little fun with their spirits.
Drinks aren’t the only thing Monkey Shoulder mixes.
Sure, Monkey Shoulder mixes into great cocktails. But like many other products and events geared toward millennials, Monkey Shoulder has also enlisted the help of a DJ. DJ Format has created Monkey Shoulder-themed playlists made specifically for cocktail parties, all of which are available on MixCloud.