April: Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail Challenge

In January, some of our members came along with us to a preview of some of the events that Monkey Shoulder had planned for the year in conjunction with Anonymous Artists. During the evening we tasted a number of variants of a cocktail: The Malt Jockey (recipe below).

The variations lay with the type of chocolate bitters used. And, after a vote, the favourite of the tested recipes was barrelled, to be unveiled at a future event. The time to try the aged Malt Jockey came in early April, at a temporary installation in Soho which popped up for the Easter Weekend…


Malt Jockey

40ml Monkey Shoulder
30ml sweet vermouth
10ml maraschino liqueur
2 dashes chocolate bitters
Stir and strain, garnish with an Orange Twist.

The Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail was the best incarnation of an Easter egg hunt EVER. Small wooden eggs were hidden in the foliage, which, once found, could be traded at the bar for a cocktail, designed by the guys from London Cocktail Club. Each drink was paired with a different chocolate from the fantastic Nico B which complemented the cocktail wonderfully. For more info, and recipes from the trail head over to my piece on Gin Monkey.

Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail (Image courtesy of the Boilermaker)Running for just four days, LCS were incredibly lucky to be given exclusive access to this trail of wonderfulness on the Saturday evening. With brand ambassador Dean Callan on hand to talk us through the whisky, and Olivier Ward from Anonymous Artists to talk us through the various cocktails, we were given a whistle stop tour of the product, its production method, and where it got its name from, all whilst sipping on whisky and cocktails – fab!


Then the 12 members lucky enough to have gained a place at the event split into pairs and were set the challenge of coming up with their own cocktail and chocolate pairing. With a huge number of potential ingredients on offer, from the foliage on the walls, to the fresh fruit and various bottled liqueurs, the challenge for most of our members was to narrow these down to just a few key flavours.

With some assistance from Dean, Olivier, myself and the lovely bartender working that evening, the members played around with the ingredients and tweaked their recipes before presenting them to us for judging – not an easy task at all.

Monkey Shoulder Chocolate Trail (Image courtesy of the boilermaker)


Surprisingly varied in concepts and flavours, from almonds to chillis, the cocktails that were made were impressive. In the end though, there could only be one winner…and the winning recipe came out on top as, having tried each of the chocolates earlier on in the night, you instantly knew which one the cocktail was designed to be paired with!


Monkey Island by Mr G and Ms Stephanie Rae-Smith

50 ml Monkey Shoulder
20 ml Cointreau
20 ml fresh pineapple juice
10 ml creme de peche
Juice of half a lemon
Dash rhubarb bitters

Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Serve with sea salt chocolate.


Then there was just time for Monkey Islands all round, a bottle of Monkey Shoulder for the two winning members, and a final chance to play on the literal musical chairs before it was time to head out into the night in search of food!

A wonderful installation for Easter, the chocolate trail was brilliant fun, and we’d like to thank Monkey Shoulder and Anonymous Artists for inviting us down and putting on such a great event for our members. We had a fabulous evening 🙂

Final thanks to the incredibly talented Addie Chin from The Boilermaker for letting us use some of his photos of the instillation and our evening in this post.

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