Nothing's Virgin Here

7 things to know about Monkey Shoulder

By Vinepair

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).

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 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 is made from a mixture of three well-respected single-malt whiskies: Balvenie, Kininvie, and Glenfiddich. 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.

It’s budget-friendly.

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 a daily.

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.

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