The name nutmeg is misleading because this plant actually produces a type of berry, the excessive consumption of which can trigger hallucinating effects. The origins of nutmeg can be traced back to Indonesia’s Banda Islands, where the evergreen nutmeg tree, which can reach a height of 20 m and has yellowish white flowers, bears dark green, short-stemmed, pointed, leathery leaves measuring up to 15 cm, and on which the seeds – nutmegs – ripen. The female flowers develop yellow, peach-like fruits, the flesh of which conceals a stone at the centre, wrapped in a lacy, crimson-coloured seed covering called the aril. At its inner core, the stone contains the oil-bearing seed – the nutmeg.
Packed with essential oils that evaporate quickly, fresh nutmeg should always be grated onto dishes just before they are served to give them a distinctive flavour. This is a recommendation that the forefather of Monkey 47 also followed, as he always enjoyed his Black Forest mashed potato with a pinch of grated nutmeg – a seasoning habit that ultimately led to this particular berry becoming an integral part of his unique gin recipe.